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THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

(EGYPT, GALLIPOLI, PALESTINE AND ITALY) 




o ^ 



THE DIARY OF 
A YEOMANRY M.O. 



EGYPT, GALLIPOLI, PALESTINE 
AND ITALY 



BY 

CAPTAIN O. TEICHMAN, D.S.O., M.C. 

CROIX DE GUERRE, CROCE DI GUERRA 
Royal Army Medical Corps iT.F.) 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND MAPS 



T. FISHER UNWIN LTD 
LONDON: ADELPHI TERRACE 



. «> • i^ » 






First published in 1921 



(All rights r$s$rvtd) 



TO 
THE MEMORY OF 

CAPTAIN M. C. ALBRIGHT ("TOBY") 

1/1 WORCESTERSHIRE YEOMANRY, 

WHO FELL AT THE HEAD OF HIS SQUADRON 

WHEN CHARGING THE GUNS 

AT HUJ (PALESTINE) 

NOVEMBER 8, 1917 



495924 



NOTE 

Throughout the late war, the author of this book kept a 
diary, often under considerable difficulties and on odd scraps 
of paper, owing to the order which forbade the taking of 
diaries into the front line : occasionally these had to be 
written in cipher or destroyed when there seemed a possi- 
bility of the writer being captured. Apology is made for 
the apparently trivial incidents of the daily routine during 
the quiet periods, which are retained in the text in order 
to make the narrative continuous. Owing to the first yearns 
diary having been lost, this period, which contained little 
of interest, has been covered by a brief synopsis. The narra- 
tive does not pretend to be in any way a full or accurate 
account of current events, being merely the experiences of 
the writer and his deductions, the latter often proving erro- 
neous when subsequent facts became known at a later date. 
If it should prove of some slight interest to those members 
of Mounted Units and Medical Officers who took part in 
the campaign, the time spent daily in compiling it will not 
have been in vain. A chapter has been added on the last 
phase of the war in Italy, where the writer had the good 
fortune to accompany the Twenty-second Infantry Brigade 
which captured the Island of Papadopoli (Piave). Acknow- 
ledgment is made to the official Dispatches, official intelli- 
gence, and to extracts and maps from The Times {Weekly 
Editian). 

O. T. 
November 1, 1920. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAOB 

ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI . . . .13 

HOME SERVICE — ALEXANDRIA — SUVLA BAY 



CHAPTER II 
MUDROS— MENA CAMP 41 

CHAPTER III 
THE SINAI DESERT . . . . . .46 

KANTARA — BATTLE OF ROMANI — HOD BAYUD— EL ARISH 
— BATTLE OF RAFA 

CHAPTER IV 
PALESTINE ; .116 

BATTLES OF GAZA-BEERSHEBA OUTPOST LINE — BATTLE 
OF BEERSHEBA — KHUWEILFEH AND RAS EL NAG — 
YEOMANRY CHARGES AT HUJ AND EL MUGHAR — BALIN 
— LATRON — ^JBRUSALEM — JAFFA — JERICHO — ES SALT 

CHAPTER V 
ITALY .253 

FAENZA— VICENZA— THE PIAVB— ARMISTICE 

INDEX , . 273 

UNITS, FORMATIONS AND SHIPS . . . .279 

GLOSSARY .... . . . 284 



ILLUSTEATIONS 



TURKISH MACHINE 
BEERSHBBA . 



GUN COMPANY IN ACTION NEAR 

Frontispiece 

FACINQ P1.0B 

. 158 



TURKISH CAVALRT ON THE WADI IMLEIH 

EXTREME LEFT OP OUR LINE, JAFFA SECTOR . . . 222 

THE JORDAN NEAR EL GHORANYB .... 232 

WADI SHAIB AND HOWEIJ HILL (ON EXTREME LEFT) . . 238 

THE RIVER PIAVE ...... 256 

TYPE OP BOAT USED IN CROSSING THE PIAVE . . . 264 

AUSTRIAN PRISONERS CARRYING WOUNDED TO MAINLAND . 268 



MAPS 

SUVLA BAY DISTRICT . . . . . .13 

EVACUATION OP WOUNDED, AUGUST 22-28, 1915 ' . .38 

SINAI AND PALESTINE, JUNE 1916 . . . .48 

ROMANI AND DISTRICT, AUGUST 4, 1916 . . .66 

EVACUATION OP DESERT WOUNDED, AUGUST 4-8, 1916 . 78 

EVACUATION OP WOUNDED, RAPA, JANUARY 9, 1917 . . 102 

GAZA-BBBRSHEBA OUTPOST LINE, 1917 .... 120 

KHUWEILPEH AND DISTRICT ..... 176 

PALESTINE, OCTOBER-DECEMBER 1917 .... 188 

THE JORDAN VALLEY, 1918 . * . . ^ . ^ . ,2^Q 

*•>■''■• ■■ ' i ' 

PAPADOPOLI ISLAND, OCTOBER 1918 . W : '*. •' •*'' .'-260 



11 



ERRATUM 

Page 246, line 11, - 12,000 to + 14,000 feet 
should read - 1,200 to -f- 1,400 feet. 



The Diary of a Yeomanry M,0, 



THE DIARY 
OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

CHAPTER I 

ENGLAND— EG YPT-GALLIPOLI 

On the evening of August 4, 1914, the momentous tele- 
gram arrived containing the one word " Mobilize," and 
on the following day the writer of this diary joined his 
regiment, the Worcester Yeomanry, at Worcester. Ac- 
cording to the mobilization orders, the last copy of which 
we had received a year ago, exactly one week was allowed 
to complete the former, but on the fifth day our CO. 
was able to telegraph to Headquarters that mobilization 
was complete. Two days later we moved to Warwick, 
where we joined the Gloucester and Warwick Yeomanry, 
whom we had been brigaded with in 1913 at Bulford, 
in order to form the old First South Midland Mounted 
Brigade. A few days later the whole Brigade moved 
to the vicinity of Bury St. Edmund's, our regiment being 
billeted at Rushbrook Park and in the neighbouring 
villages. During the next few days there were a certain 
number of " invasion " alarms, generally at midnight, 
which resulted in the Brigade making hasty and fruitless 
dashes towards the coast. Towards the end of August 
we joined the rest of the Second Mounted Division, in 
the area of the Berkshire downs, our own Brigade being 
under canvas on the Newbury Race-course. We were 
told that we should shortly be proceeding to France, and 
were inspected by His Majesty the King and also by 
General Sir Ian Hamilton. One day in October the 
Brigade received sudden orders to entrain for an unknown 

13 



14 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

destination, but after travelling through the night we 
.j^ > i''? •-'^ere disappointed to find in the grey dawn that we had 
arrived at Sheringham. There was evidently another 
big invasion scare, and a number of guns of a large size 
arrived during the morning. Nothing, however, happened, 
and after being stationed a few miles behind Cromer 
during November and December, turning out about once 
a week on account of the usual invasion scare, we even- 
tually found ourselves more or less permanently billeted at 
King's Lynn. Just before the end of the year we took 
part in one of the first Zeppelin raids, and our bearers 
had their first experience of dealing with real wounded. 

1915. 

For the first three months of 1915 strenuous training 
was indulged in, and we took our part in patrolling the 
roads along the coast. On April 8th our period of waiting 
actually came to an end, and the 1st Worcestershire 
Yeomanry entrained for Avonmouth. Two days later the 
whole of the Second Mounted Yeomanry Division embarked 
in order to join the British Mediterranean Force. Our 
own Brigade actually sailed between April 10th and 13th. 
Eleven officers of our regiment, with 100 N.C.O.'s and 
men and 530 horses, sailed on a horse-boat, by name the 
s.s. Eloby ; the rest of the regiment sailing on a large 
troopship, together with other units. We were accom- 
panied by a destroyer, which left us on the following 
morning, but at about 4 p.m. we passed the Warwickshire 
horse-boat, the s.s. Wayfarer, which had been torpedoed. 
A collier was standing by her, but apparently our orders 
were to make for the open sea as quickly as possible. 
On April 21st Malta was reached, but our arrival appeared 
to be unexpected and we received orders to proceed to 
Alexandria. Unfortunately, we lost about thirty horses 
from what was said to be pneumonia, possibly owing to 
the bad ventilation in the hold of our ship and the sudden 
change of climate from the cold of the east coast to 
the heat of the Eastern Mediterranean. Amongst these 
horses was an old friend whom I had had for many years. 



ENGLAND— EGYPT— OALLIPOLI 15 

On April 24th the regiment disembarked at Alexandria 
and with the rest of the First Brigade moved into camp 
on the beach at Chatby, about a mile outside the town. 
For the next two months we were used for garrison pur- 
poses, and began to wonder whether mounted troops would 
ever be needed in Gallipoli. During July the Brigade 
moved out to Aboukir Bay for training, which could not 
well be undertaken near Alexandria. On August 11th, 
when we had almost begun to forget that there was a 
real war, our Division received orders to proceed to the 
Dardanelles dismounted. Each regiment was instructed to 
leave one hundred men and four officers behind in order 
to look after the horses in Egypt ; as this would make 
the regiments very weak it was arranged that only one 
regimental medical officer per Brigade was to proceed 
to Gallipoli, the other two being left in Alexandria, where 
there was a great lack of R.A.M.C. officers. Infantry 
web equipment was served out to all ranks, and it took 
us some time to get accustomed to its intricacies, as not 
a single officer or N.C.O. had seen anything except 
cavalry equipment before. On August 13th the Brigade 
was finally inspected in marching order on the outskirts 
of Alexandria. 

August lUh. 

The First Mounted Brigade, the whole of the Divisional 
Staff and some details of the Second and Fourth Mounted 
Brigade Field Ambulances embarked on H.M.T. Ascania 
at 9 a.m. At midday we began to inoculate the men 
against cholera and were kept hard at it until 7 p.m. 
The heat was terrific, in the small space available amid- 
ships below the deck. 

August 15th. 

We heard that the Royal Edward had been sunk with 
great loss of life on the previous day about twelve hours 
ahead of us in the ^Egean Sea. By sunset we had com- 
pleted the cholera inoculation, which amounted to 900 
for the day. 



16 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

August 16th, 

The ship steamed through the Greek islands of the 
JEgean Sea. The boat was a comfortable one and meals 
were excellent. It seemed strange that although we 
were shortly going into action and would have to live 
on the simplest rations, the normal routine went on 
on board as if we were crossing the Atlantic. We had 
our bedroom stewards, bathroom stewards, table stewards, 
etc. During the day we all had our heads shaved by 
the ship's barber, as prevention was better than cure. 
It being our last night on board, a successful concert was 
held. Little did we think that four days hence at this 
hour some of those present would be lying dead on the 
plains of Suvla Bay. Before turning in, two brilliantly 
lighted hospital ships passed us, a double row of green 
and white lights over the portholes and an illuminated 
red cross amidships and at either end. We, of course, 
were steaming with all lights out. 

August 17 th. 

We arrived off Lemnos early in the morning, but as 
it was not possible to enter Mudros Bay until a fixed 
hour, our ship kept moving about until we were signalled 
to come in. We entered the Bay and finally the inner 
" harbour." Considerable rolling hills flanked the Bay, 
and it was full of an enormous amount of shipping — British 
and French battleships, cruisers, torpedo-boat destroyers, 
mine-layers, mine-sweepers, transports, colliers, provision 
boats, captured Turkish steamers and Greek sailing 
boats. Naval picket boats and pinnaces were dashing 
about in all directions. As we entered the Bay we were 
followed closely by a French troopship, which cheered us 
and was cheered in return. Then followed the other 
transport which had conveyed our Division (now fourteen 
yeomanry regiments strong). In the distance lay the 
town of Mudros, and numerous white-tented camps were 
to be seen extending down to the water's edge. The 
harbour itself was a buzz of activity. It was here that 



ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI IT 

the early landings on the Peninsula were rehearsed before 

they actually took place. Before reaching our anchorage 

we passed two French troopships packed with Senegalese 

soldiers and tirailleurs Algeriens. At 1 p.m. orders were 

received that the Headquarters of the First Brigade, 

the Worcestershire Yeomanry Machine Gun Detachment, 

and also that of the Gloucester and Warwick Yeomanry, 

were to be ready to leave the ship at 2 p.m. The 

remaining regiments and staff were to leave at a 

later hour. At 3 p.m. a paddle-wheel steamer, painted 

grey (which was formerly an Isle of Man passenger boat), 

came alongside, and the units before mentioned began 

to embark. We found that there were already on board 

the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and drafts of numerous 

infantry regiments. Much to the disappointment of those 

concerned, four officers per regiment were left behind 

as first reinforcements. This turned out, as will be seen, 

to be a very wise procedure. At 5 p.m. we were all 

aboard, and amidst cheers from the Ascania we cast 

off. The little steamer carried about 2,500 men, and 

every inch of deck space was occupied. Orders were 

issued that no man was on any account to move from 

the deck space he occupied, for fear of capsizing the boat. 

Maps were now issued, and we received one of the Gallipoli 

Peninsula and one of Suvla Bay (Anafarta region). As 

we steamed out of the harbour the crew of a battleship 

gave us a cheer and wished us good luck, and a yeomanry 

officer responded with a " Gone away " blast on his 

hunting-horn, and we realized that after many months 

of waiting the Second Mounted Division was at last 

going into action. After leaving the harbour and Bay 

of Mudros we turned northwards and passed several 

mine-sweepers and destroyers. As darkness came on we 

could just see the heights of Imbros on the west and 

Cape Hellas to the east. From the latter place we could 

hear the thunder of guns and occasionally see the flash. 

We were steaming as fast as possible, with all lights out 

in order to avoid submarines, and one could not help 

thinking that hardly a single man would be saved should 

2 



18 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

an accident occur to our little paddle-wheel steamer. 
The officer on the bridge told me that he had been per- 
forming this journey every night for some months. One 
night was quite enough for us. Before leaving the 
Ascania all ranks had been supplied with two days' 
emergency ration, so that even if no supplies were forth- 
coming for two days after landing we should have enough 
food to go on with. At 10 p.m. our boat stopped, and 
after exchanging signals with some one, proceeded in 
pitch darkness through the submarine nets into what we 
were told was Suvla Bay. Every man now put on his 
equipment, and we patiently waited for the next stage 
in our journey. A steam launch came alongside and 
was quietly hailed from the bridge. We discerned six 
large tows following behind a launch, and began to dis- 
embark into the former. Each boat carried about fifty 
men. When all the boats were full the little launch 
moved quietly off into the darkness. After steaming 
for about ten minutes we narrowly avoided collision 
with six boats which were returning empty from the shore, 
their launch having broken down, and the sailors on board 
were waiting for another one to take them on. How 
they were ever foimd again that night in the pitch dark- 
ness without any lights was difficult to understand. In 
another ten minutes we ran up alongside of a little jetty 
made of pontoons and made fast. As soon as we had 
landed our men on the jetty, one of them disappeared 
through a hole in the planks, caused by a shell that after- 
noon. However, he was not quite out of his depth, 
and two of his fellows soon got him out. It was lucky 
it was not deeper, as a man in full equipment sinks like 
a stone. I reported myself to the Landing Officer, whose 
instructions were somewhat vague : "Go up the hill a 
little way, turn to the left, and try to find your unit 
directly the sun rises." It was very lucky for us that 
we landed in the dark, as the Turks shelled all landing 
parties by day — a fact which we soon realized when we 
saw the destruction at the land end of the jetty. They 
seldom fired at night, as they were afraid of giving away 



ENGLAND— EGYPT--GALLIPOLI 19 

their positions. It was very hard work for my men, as 
they had to " man-handle " all the equipment, as they 
stumbled up the hill over rocks and through the scrub. 
We passed an A.S.C. food and ammunition dump which 
had evidently recently suffered from shell fire. About 
every twenty-five yards we were challenged by sentries. 
I learned from one of these that a Field Ambulance be- 
longing to our Division had landed an hour previously 
and was only a short distance ahead. Eventually I heard 
a friend calling me, so decided that we had better lie down 
where we were until morning. As we lay in the scrub 
more and more troops kept arriving in the Bay from the 
transports at Lemnos, some being conveyed in destroyers, 
others in mine-sweepers and small packet-boats similar 
to the one we had come in. The strings of tows kept 
returning and fetching more men. Everything pro- 
ceeded in perfect order, and hardly a sound was heard. 
All through the night drafts passed us asking for the 
whereabouts of the Manchesters, the Inniskillings, the 
Munsters, etc. 

August 18th, 

I was told that we should have to be on the move 
early, as we were lying in a very exposed position, as 
shown by certain ominous holes in the ground. We 
had landed at " A " Beach (west) Ghazi Baba, at the 
northern side of Suvla Bay. Directly it got light I came 
across the Gloucestershire Yeomanry, and we all received 
orders to move off in a north-westerly direction in order 
to take up a position behind a slight ridge on the rising 
ground. As we moved off the enemy began to shell our 
landing-place, where the rest of the Division, who could 
not be all disembarked during the night, were being 
landed. It was their baptism of fire, but they did not 
take the slightest notice of it, in spite of casualties. 
Eventually the whole division took up its position on 
the south-western slopes of Karakol Dagh, behind a low 
ridge which partially concealed them from enemy guns. 
Every man now set to work to dig himself a dugout. 



20 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

At about 6 a.m. the Turkish guns got to work and 
heavily shelled "A" Beach, "A" Beach west, and 
Kangaroo Beach. This firing appeared to come chiefly 
from the positions on Baki Baba and Anafarta Sagir. 
The landing stages at the beaches mentioned and the 
A.S.C. depots seemed to be their special objective, but 
every now and then a shell would drop in our 
camp. 

I established my dressing station in a little ravine 
between the first regiment of our Brigade and Brigade 
Headquarters. From this spot the wounded were evacu- 
ated to the Second Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, 
and from this unit they were conveyed by mule ambulance 
transport to the beach at the extremity of Suvla Burnu. 
Here was situate the East Anglian Casualty Clearing 
Station. A steam launch towing three barges took the 
wounded from this point to the hospital ships in the 
Bay. It was a wonderful panorama that lay spread 
out before us as we sat in our dugouts on this heath- 
covered slope. A few hundred yards below was Suvla 
Bay with its battleships, transports, destroyers, monitors 
and hospital ships. The gunboats kept up an inter- 
mittent fire on the enemy's positions to the east, while 
the latter bombarded them in return. Fountains of 
spray kept appearing all round the ships where the 
enemy's shells had missed their mark. One of the former 
was apparently hit and left the line for a time, probably 
to repair some slight damage. Looking across the Bay 
to the southern side, one could see the hill called Lala 
Baba and "B" and "C" Beaches. The latter were 
protected by a spur which ran from Lala Baba to Point 
Niebrimiessi, and behind this spur could be seen numbers 
of our troops and guns encamped. To the south-east of 
our position could be seen the white-coloured Salt Lake 
and Chocolate Hill (Yilgin Burnu) in the distance. North 
of this point could be seen the Anafarta Hills, and nestling 
in a depression in the latter the little white village of 
Kutchuk (small) Anafarta, with its slender minaret and 
row of little windmills set amongst the cypress-trees. 



ENGLAND—EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 21 

About midday the bombardment ceased and a few of us 
went down to bathe. We found a secluded cove to 
the west of Kangaroo Beach and enjoyed the refreshing 
swim. While in the water a shell hit a transport (? the 
Minneapolis), standing about half a mile out, and carried 
away part of her superstructure. A gunboat immediately 
placed herself between the transport and the enemy's 
line of fire and tried to locate the battery, which it appar- 
ently silenced — anyhow, for a time. Our water supply 
was derived from two springs near the beach and also 
from condensed water supplied from the ships. In the 
afternoon sixty men per regiment were ordered to make 
a road from " A " Beach in an easterly direction towards 
the Salt Lake. Some of them never returned to the 
camp, and others, severely wounded, passed through my 
hands, as the Turks saw them at work and shelled them 
heavily. At 5 p.m., while at tea, an aeroplane suddenly 
appeared from over the Anafarta Hills, and every man 
was ordered to lie down where he was. This was our 
first sight of " Fritz," who, we were told, came over daily 
at 5 p.m. to have a general look round. As he appeared 
almost over us with the evident intention of seeing what 
new troops had landed, suddenly little white clouds of 
smoke appeared above, below and in front of him. At 
the same time we heard the sound of firing, and then 
realized that the white puffs of smoke were the shells 
exploding from the anti-aircraft guns of the ships in the 
Bay. It was all very new to us. He did not venture 
any further than our ridge, and was then compelled to 
return to his base, but apparently none the worse. It is 
doubtful whether he was able to estimate our strength 
or that of the Infantry Division situated behind us. 
During the night we heard very heavy rifle fire from the 
trenches in the plain to the east, and heard afterwards 
that a trench had been lost and retaken. 

August 19th, 

In the morning, while our men were drawing rations 
and water on the beach, some more casualties occurred. 



22 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

The East Anglian Casualty Clearing Station lost several 
of its personnel and had to change its position. Our 
Second Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance also had to 
move further up the hill, as shells, meant apparently for 
" A " Beach, kept falling in its dugouts. From a sHght 
eminence we watched another wonderful sight — ^the ships 
in the Bay bombarding the enemy's positions vigorously. 
We identified the positions of the various troops, which 
could be seen like a map spread out below us. On 
cHmbing the path that led right up the summit of Kara- 
kol Dagh, we found some of the Eleventh Division holding 
trenches on the summit. To the north these hills fell 
precipitously to the sea, and in a little bay below us a 
small gunboat was firing shells right over our men into 
the Turkish lines. Sitting in the old Turkish trenches 
on the south-eastern slope, we had a good view of the 
plain 400 feet beneath us, which extended eastwards to 
the hills where the enemy's big guns were located. Below 
us we could see our own guns, hidden almost entirely 
from view by the scrub, in most cases only the openings 
into the gunners' dugouts which faced towards us being 
visible. About 2 miles in front of the guns we could 
see parties in the open moving forward to the trenches 
and the wounded being carried back to the Welsh Field 
Ambulances near the beach. While we watched, the 
enemy did not locate our batteries, but we saw some 
men wounded who were apparently carrying up stores 
or ammunition. As the enemy's gunners had now 
suddenly selected the site of our Third Brigade Camp 
as their favourite target, this Brigade was compelled to 
change its position. Luckily the R.E. and Wireless 
Camp, situated next to us, was not interfered with. On 
our way down to the beach for our afternoon bathe, 
while the Turkish gunners were apparently having their 
siesta, we passed the Turkish prisoners who had been 
recently taken, in a barbed wire enclosure guarded by 
our men. They were chiefly fair complexioned, looked 
well fed and well equipped, in dark-brown khaki uniforms 
with khaki fez. From our bathing place we had a good 



ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 28 

view of the islands of Samothrace and Imbros, the latter 
being G.H.Q., M.E.F. At 5 p.m. "Fritz" appeared 
again, received his usual greeting from the anti-aircraft 
guns, and retired. We found it best to dine before dark, 
as no lights were allowed. One had to be rather careful 
with the water, but food was plentiful. 

Augicst 20ih, 

In the morning an aeroplane suddenly appeared over 
our camp, and caused some alarm, until by the use of 
glasses we recognized that it was one of our own. It 
then circled round and round several times, and came 
very low down, then, rising suddenly, flew off towards 
the south. It transpired afterwards that it had brought 
a message, which had been dropped in our camp for the 
G.O.C. At midday the five Brigadiers met the General 
and there was a rumour that we should soon be on the 
move. At 5 p.m. we were told to be ready to move off 
at six, and to carry extra ammunition, two days' emer- 
gency rations, and picks and shovels as well as the ordinary 
entrenching tools. At 7 p.m. the Division commenced 
to leave camp and at 8 p.m. I followed our Brigade with 
my men. As we had no transport, it was very heavy 
work for the medical and machine gun detachments, as 
all equipment had to be man-handled. The large medical 
and surgical panniers had to be carried on open stretchers, 
and we organized a system of reliefs every quarter of 
an hour, in order that the men should not be tired out. 
All the officers' valises and the men's packs were left 
behind in camp with a few sentries. After leaving camp 
we followed the coast for about a mile, and then struck 
out due east through the dense scrub, where our field 
battery lay concealed. We saw the ghost-like figures 
of the gunners as they stood just outside their shelters, 
and the Indian Mule Corps bringing up their ammunition 
in the dark. These little mules were wonderful, the way 
they got over the rough ground. We had seen them 
previously moving through our camp, on their way up 
to the Eleventh Division on the summit of Karakol Dagh. 



24 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

After going another half-mile we turned due south and, 
after passing a little cultivated land, got on to sound 
turf where the going was good. In front of us appeared 
what looked like rows of bathing machines in the dark, 
but they turned out to be'^the covered ambulance waggons 
of a Field Ambulance. Here we halted and rested for 
twenty minutes : we could hear very rapid and loud 
rifle fire from the trenches 2 miles to the east, and a 
message came through for the loan of two machine guns 
at once. The Derbys sent their detachment for a few 
hours and rejoined the column on the following morning. 
We now followed the coast line again, marching over 
heavy sand, passing the Welsh Field Ambulances and 
the First Welsh Casualty Clearing Station, whose dugouts 
were in the sand-dunes near the water's edge. Here 
was situated the pontoon jetty, from which the wounded 
were dispatched by barge to the hospital ships in the 
Bay. Our way now lay through some soft ground, a 
sort of swamp, which, in winter, was the communication 
between the Salt Lake and Suvla Bay. Here was another 
wireless station, erected by the R.E. As we plodded on, 
the ground on our left gradually rose, until we were on 
the beach beneath the sandy cliff. On this beach we 
were astonished to find horse lines, the first we had seen 
on the Peninsula ; they were those of the heavy draught- 
horses belonging to the 60-pounders, which had been 
recently landed. We were now on what is called " B " 
Beach, which we had previously looked at from across 
the Bay. An Irish regiment passed us who were going 
to a " Rest Camp," after doing their turn in the trenches. 
As a matter of fact, such a thing as a Rest Camp did 
not exist in the Suvla Bay district, as every part of 
the beach was under gun-fire. After passing two Field 
Ambulances stationed near " C " Beach, we skirted the 
western slopes of Lala Baba and halted behind the com- 
mencement of the spur which leads from that hill to 
Point Niebruniessi. Here, after each man had dug himself 
in, the Division spent the night. 



ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 25 

August 21st. 

As soon as it was light we were awakened by terrific 
reports. A 60-pounder gun fifty yards to our left had 
opened fire on the enemy's position, and shells from our 
battleships were roaring over our heads. As the enemy 
were obviously searching for the 60-pounders, the Brigade 
nearest to them took up a position further to the south 
and nearer the beach. It was very interesting, watching 
the precision with which these guns were fired. There 
appeared to be regular danger zones between our Division 
and Lala Baba and between ourselves and the ground 
occupied by the next Infantry Division. No troops were 
encamped in these zones, and when one had to cross them, 
one did so at the double. Along the top of the crest 
behind which we were dug in was situated an old Turkish 
trench captured at the original landing about ten days 
before. Our Divisional Headquarters were established on 
the western slopes of Lala Baba. At 8 a.m., as the 
enemy's shells had become unpleasantly frequent, most 
of us left our temporary shelters, and ate our breakfast 
in the tiny ravines that ran down through the cUffs to 
the sea. Afterwards we had an enjoyable bathe. We 
were told that our Division was to take part in a general 
attack on the Turkish positions that afternoon. Some 
of us crawled over the ridge and lay down in the low 
scrub to examine the position through our glasses. Look- 
ing almost due east across the Salt Lake, we could see 
the low brown-coloured hill known as Chocolate Hill or 
Yilgin Burnu (53 m.), and in the foreground some low 
scrub. Under cover of the hill could be seen a Brigade 
of our infantry in their temporary dugouts ; these we 
supposed were part of the Tenth Division. To the 
north of Chocolate Hill we could see Hill 70 (Burnt Hill 
or Scimitar Hill), which is the commencement of the 
Anafarta Ridge. Immediately behind Chocolate Hill 
could be seen Hill 112 (or ^" W " Hill), on whose summit 
were the guns which caused most trouble to " B " and 
" C " Beaches and to the southern part of Suvla Bay. 



26 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

We fully realized that when our time came to march 
across the plain these guns would be very troublesome. 
South-east we could see what looked like a series of cliffs 
at the foot of 971, running up towards Hill 101. These 
cliffs were partly occupied by the Australians, and a 
fertile valley lay between them and Chocolate Hill. 
Having had a good look, we returned to a safer place for 
lunch near the beach. At 1.30 p.m. I climbed the western 
side of Lala Baba in order to see our A.D.M.S. at Divisional 
H.Q. and to receive my orders ; I was told to carry all 
equipment on stretchers and make my own arrangements 
with regard to the wounded, and that the latter would 
have to be carried from the Field Ambulances to the 
beach by hand, as the country to the south was too 
rough for mule transport. At 2 p.m. all the battleships 
and monitors in Suvla Bay steamed in as near to the 
shore as possible, and two cruisers which had appeared 
south of Lala Baba promontory did the same. A few 
minutes later an observation balloon rose from one of 
the cruisers south of Lala Baba, and then commenced 
what appeared to us the most terrific bombardment of 
the enemy's position, chiefly Hills 70 and 112, by our 
battleships, cruisers, field guns and heavy howitzers. 
The enemy's positions appeared to be swallowed up in 
clouds of dust and smoke ; the Turks replied, but without 
any very obvious result as far as we could see. At about 
3 p.m. our firing ceased, and four hospital ships, two in 
Suvla Bay and two south of Lala Baba, steamed in to 
within half a mile of the shore, taking care to give the 
battleships a wide berth. One of our aeroplanes, returning 
from over the Turkish trenches, brought news of the 
latest dispositions. From what we could gather, the 
dispositions of our own forces were as follows : 

A Brigade of the Tenth Division and part of the Twenty- 
ninth Division were to attack Hill 70, aided by our own 
Second and Fourth Mounted Brigades. A Brigade of 
the Eleventh Division was to attack Hill 112, aided by 
our First, Third and Fifth Mounted Brigades, with 
another Brigade in reserve ; while the Divisions holding 



ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 27 

the trenches in the plain to the south were to rush 
the Turkish trenches in their front, then turn north- 
wards and converge on Hill 112 from the south. Mean- 
while the Fifty-third, Fifty-fourth and Eleventh Divisions 
in the trenches to the north of Hill 70 were also to advance, 
and in the extreme south the Australians and Ghurkas 
from Anzac were to advance on Hill 60 and link up their 
line with our own trenches. The remaining Brigades of 
the various Divisions were in reserve. At 3.10 p.m. our 
Division and part of the Tenth formed up behind Lala 
Baba, and then, crossing the ridge, commenced to descend 
to the Salt Lake plain. We were in the following order : 
Second Brigade (Berks, Bucks and Dorset Yeomanry), 
Fourth Brigade (three London Yeomanry Regiments), 
First Brigade (Worcester, Warwick and Gloucester Yeo- 
manry), Third Brigade (Derbyshire and two Notts Yeo- 
manry Regiments), Fifth Brigade (Hertfordshire and 
Westminster Yeomanry). Each Medical Officer and bearer 
party followed his own Brigade. Not a shot was fired 
until we had gone a quarter of a mile and were well 
into the plain, when suddenly we seemed to walk into 
an inferno of shrapnel and H.E. Our first casualty was 
a Worcester yeoman with a spent bullet in his thigh. 
After that, men seemed to be dropping like flies. Finding 
an old Turkish trench, we made it our first Aid Post ; 
this was soon full of wounded, dressed and labelled and 
fairly safe, as it was deep. I then looked for a Field 
Ambulance, but ours was at that moment only just starting 
down the hill behind the last Brigade, and the only Red 
Cross flag to be seen was 2 miles away across the Salt 
Lake. So, noting the position of our trench, we moved 
on. Selecting another Aid Post in a slight depression 
behind a stunted oak-tree, we were soon busy again bringing 
in the wounded. It was heartrending work, as so many 
were past hope of recovery ; the proportion of killed was 
very great and many were quite unrecognizable. Three 
slightly wounded men were killed in our Aid Post as a 
shell burst over us. The H.E. caused ghastly effects, as 
men were hterally blown to pieces. My bearers worked 



28 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

splendidly, and brought the wounded in in a perfect 
inferno of bursting shells. We found that we were now 
picking up chiefly Notts, Derby s, Inniskillings, Irish 
Fusiliers, Sherwood Foresters and Hertfordshire Yeo- 
manry, as our Brigade had turned slightly northwards 
and we, being busy, had not noticed this, and had kept 
straight on. Our Aid Post now contained about fifty 
wounded and dying, and I was very relieved to suddenly 
see a Red Cross flag appear about 200 yards behind 
our position. This turned out to be our Second Mounted 
Brigade Field Ambulance, so, after detaching an orderly 
to inform them of the position of our first Aid Post 
and the one we were just vacating, we pushed on to form 
our third. We now entered a piece of land covered 
with tall rushes, which made the search for wounded 
difficult. Here I was working with several M.O.'s, but we 
each had our own zone to draw. On one occasion prac- 
tically nothing was left of what had been two stretcher- 
bearers carrying a man. I came upon a group of five 
yeomen, quite dead in realistic attitudes, without a 
scratch on them, probably the concussion effect of H.E. 
Several men unwounded had completely lost their reason 
and some were blind. Huge holes seemed to be torn in 
the squadrons as they advanced, but, to quote Ashmead- 
Bartlett's report, " they moved as if on parade, and 
losing many, they never wavered but pressed steadily 
on." The Indian Mule Corps advancing with us to 
bring up ammunition showed the greatest contempt for 
the enemy's fire. Our men bore their wounds with the 
greatest courage, and our stretcher-bearers worked in 
the calm routine fashion, as if they were working at a 
Field Day on the Berkshire Downs or on the marshes 
of the East Coast. One recognized now how important 
discipline and routine are on these occasions, when one 
saw each squad of three or four men performing their 
duties methodically. As we advanced the men of the 
Signal Companies, R.E., kept on laying their field tele- 
phone, and if one man, rolling his wheel over the ground, 
fell, there was always another behind to take it on. Here 



ENGLAND— EGYPT—GALLIPOLI 29 

and there one came on large holes made by the H.E. 
shells; they were useful to put men into, as they were 
safe from rifle fire. We had to work as fast as possible 
in order to keep ahead of our Third and Fifth Brigades, 
which were following us, as we knew that if they 
passed us they would draw more fire on our wounded. 
My next Aid Post was just in front of a little wood of 
scrub ; there were now more bullet wounds, as we were 
nearer to the trenches. The fleet in the Bay now opened 
fu'e again, and we could hear the big shells roaring over- 
head. To quote Ashmead-Bartlett : " The rifle fire was 
deafening, and I do not think that I have ever heard 
such a din as that produced by the ships' guns, field 
pieces, bursting shells and thousands of rifles, on any 
battle-field before." Snipers in the low scrub in front 
of the hill now became very troublesome, remaining 
behind and firing on our men when they had passed. 
My Aid Post was now full, so, sending back another 
messenger, we pushed on again. We came to a point 
where a little path forked in the wood, and there we 
found quite a pile of men, evidently all shot by the same 
sniper as they passed that spot. As we were removing 
one of them another man was shot by the sniper. About 
this time the scrub on our right caught fire and burnt 
furiously. This made the immediate search for wounded 
very urgent. We could hear those who could not move 
crying for help as the flames crept up. Some men of 
another Division advanced along little footpaths amongst 
the flames, and when they were wounded badly, it was 
very difficult to remove them. I now moved on to form 
my next Aid Post at the base of the hill, but to get there 
we had to leave the scrub and double across two fields, 
which were continually being searched by snipers ; some 
of these were left exposed by the fire and were shot by 
our men on sight. 

The Second Brigade Field Ambulance, which till now 
had been taking our cases, had been passing them on 
to the Casualty Clearing Station on the beach south 
of Lala Baba promontory, whence the wounded, after 



30 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

receiving their anti-tetanic inoculation, were removed by 
barge to the hospital ships. 

On forming my Aid Post under the hill, I saw a Field 
Ambulance in a small wood just beyond the reach of the 
flames. This turned out to be our Fourth (London) 
Brigade Field Ambulance, and we then commenced to 
evacuate our wounded to it. From this spot the stretchers 
were carried to the dugouts of the advanced dressing 
station of the 32nd Field Ambulance on the Salt 
Lake. At this point mule transport took them across 
the bed of the lake to the Welsh Casualty Clearing 
Station on the beach. On arriving at the hill we were 
told that the Second and Fourth Brigade had gone on 
to the left, that the First Brigade had gone to the 
right, and that the Third and Fifth were resting under 
it. The latter then moved off to the right and our machine 
guns moved up the hill itself, with some of the Tenth 
Division. We received orders to leave all heavy equip- 
ment at the foot of the hill, and when this had been done 
we started to follow our Fifth Brigade, which had gone 
to the right, according to orders. The Brigade had 
moved off round the hill about twenty minutes before, 
and after going a short distance we came under very 
heavy fire and met a Major in an Irish regiment, who 
said it was quite impossible to get round that way now, 
as the enemy had just got a fresh machine gun in position 
and were enfilading that path ; so, realizing that I should 
be quite useless if I lost my bearers, I decided to retrace 
my steps, climb the hill, and descend on the other side. 
While we were attending to some wounded on the hill, 
I walked towards the northern end and must have become 
temporarily concussed, as two hours later I found 
myself walking between the advanced post of the 32nd 
Field Ambulance and Hill 70, without knowing how I 
got there, having lost most of my equipment, including 
my pack. However, I found my men, three of whom 
were now missing, on the top of the hill with our Brigade 
machine guns, and learnt that both our Field Ambulances 
were now established under the hill. It was now 11.30 p.m., 



ENGLAND—EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 31 

and we began to descend the eastern exposed slopes of 
Chocolate Hill in very open order. There was little 
moon, and we could see, as we approached Hill 112, the 
fires which had broken out all over that hill, and also 
on Hill 60 to the south and Hill 70 to the north. As 
these fires increased, the surroundings were brilliantly 
illuminated. We did not know at the time that there 
was a large communication trench leading from the 
top of the hill to our advance trenches. We were told 
that if we went on about half a mile we should come to 
a lane which passed behind the trenches held by our 
First Brigade. We missed the lane, but stumbled into 
a trench held by the Sherwoods. We were glad to get 
into it, as the rifle fire was getting hot and bullets meant 
for this trench were breaking the ground at our feet. 
Here we attended to some wounded, and then proceeded 
along the trench in a north-easterly direction to where 
we heard cries for help. Doubling across the open, we 
found ourselves in a hot position, so dropped into the 
nearest trench, which turned out to be a Turkish one 
recently evacuated, I proceeded carefully, thinking that 
we might meet the Turk any moment ; however, we 
did not meet any live ones. The fires on Hill 112 were 
now burning low, but one could see the neutral ground 
between our lines, with heaps of Turkish dead. Our 
Brigades had advanced up this hill, but had had to retire. 
I got out of our trench and found one of our machine 
guns at work, and waited for a time in a well-built Turkish 
shelter. Thus ended August 21st. 

The following is an extract from Sir Ian Hamilton's 
dispatch (The Times, January 7, 1916) : 

The advance of these Enghsh yeomen was a sight calculated to 
send a thrill of pride through anyone with a drop of English blood 
running in their veins. Such superb martial spectacles are rare 
in modern war. Ordinarily it should always be possible to bring 
up reserves under some sort of cover from shrapnel fire. Here, 
for a mile and a half, there was nothing to conceal a mouse, much 
less some of the most stalwart soldiers England has ever sent from 
her shores. Despite the critical events in other parts of the field, 



82 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

I could hardly take my glasses from the yeomen ; they moved 
like men marching on parade. Here and there a shell would take 
toll of a cluster ; there they lay : there was no straggling ; the 
others moved steadily on ; not a man was there who hung back 
or hurried. 

August 22nd, 

The fires on the hills had now burnt out : it was 2 a.m., 
and not knowing the general scheme of the trenches, I 
thought it best to wait until daylight before making a 
move. At 3 a.m. two infantry subalterns, evidently 
having lost their units, tumbled in on the top of us and 
immediately fell asleep. At 4 a.m. we got the order to 
retire, and fell in with the Worcester Yeomanry, who 
skirted the hill and formed up with the remains of the 
Division on the west of Chocolate Hill. The greater 
part of the Division then retired over the same ground 
which we had crossed on the previous day and returned 
to the ridge behind Lala Baba. Fortunately, in the 
dim dawn the enemy did not see our move, or we should 
have been shelled again. By 7 a.m. regiments were 
formed up again and were going through the sad ordeal 
of the roll call. We then learnt that the Second and 
Fourth Mounted Brigades had made an heroic attack 
on Hill 70, had reached the top, and had then been 
thrown back by sheer force of numbers. Their losses 
were very great, including two Brigadiers. It transpired 
that during the advance from Lala Baba to Chocolate 
Hill alone there had been five hundred casualties in 
our Division before it came within rifle range, and that 
our total casualties had been 30 per cent. A message 
now came up that sixty wounded were still lying on the 
edge of the Salt Lake, at the original first position of 
the Second Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance. They 
had been left there, under cover of a slight ridge, the 
afternoon before, but owing to the extreme pressure of 
work it had not been found possible to evacuate them 
to the southern beach. The Field Ambulance bearers 
were quite worn out with twelve hours' continuous 
carrying ; volunteers were therefore called for to carry 



. ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 33 

them to the beach, as it was now light and shells were 
beginning to fall in the plain again. My own bearers 
were not fit to go, but we managed to get ten men per 
regiment in the Brigade, and I accompanied them, as, 
not having done any manual work, I was fairly fresh 
in spite of the last sixteen hours. We ran down and got 
to work at once, and acting as a bearer, I realized what 
hard work it was as I helped to carry a fat Major over 
very rough ground to the Casualty Clearing Station on 
the beach. Here we were rewarded with enormous 
bowls of tea and bread, which was very much appreciated, 
as we had eaten nothing since the previous afternoon. 
At this Casualty Clearing Station every wounded man 
was redressed if necessary, received hot food, his anti- 
tetanic injection, and was shipped off to the hospital 
ships in the Bay. On returning to our position behind 
Lala Baba we found most of our men asleep, in spite 
of the 60 -pounders which were firing only a hundred 
yards away. Meanwhile, the sections of our Field Am- 
bulances which had remained under Chocolate Hill, I 
could see with my glasses, were having a rough time. 
After a bathe we lunched again in the little ravines by 
the sea ; it was quite peaceful when the guns ceased to 
fire for a while, but we were not the merry party we had 
been twenty-four hours before — some were missing, some 
killed and some wounded. At 7 p.m. we again left Lala 
Baba and crossed the Salt Lake to Chocolate Hill. Not 
a shell was dropped on us, only an occasional rifle shot. 
What a scene of desolation — dead men, mules, rifles, 
ammunition, helmets and emergency rations lay every- 
where. As we marched slowly along, we came across 
some of our dead and hastily buried them while it was 
possible. Most of these had not fired off any am- 
munition, as they had been killed by shell fire long 
before they were within rifle range of the enemy. It 
was sad work, burying these men, mostly yeomen farmers 
in the prime of life and of splendid physique — this sense- 
less slaughter of war seemed appalling, when viewed 
calmly after the excitement of battle was over. Even- 

3 



34 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

tually we caught up our Brigade, who were lying at the 
foot of the hill. While sitting on the ground, one man 
gave a little cough and rolled over against his neighbour 
quite dead. We could not find the cause of death at 
first, but it turned out that a dropping spent bullet had 
entered the left lung just behind the clavicle, leaving 
hardly any wound. The Division now ascended the 
hill ; each Brigade had a small area allotted to it, and we 
all began to dig in for the night. It was very hard work 
in the stiff clay, but a certain amount of corrugated iron 
and balks of timber were obtainable. Extra sandbags 
were issued to the men, as they had used up those which 
they carried on the previous day. 

August 23rd. 

At daylight we found that we were not in the correct 
position, so we took over other dugouts further to the 
north, while part of the Brigade moved into the front- 
line trenches. At 8 a.m. the enemy, knowing that the 
western slope of the hill was covered with troops, shelled 
it furiously, and searched for the battery just below us. 
During the morning we improved our dugouts, which 
were built into the side of the hill. We were within 
fifty yards of the top of the hill, where our main commu- 
nication trench started : the top of the former was an 
impossible place, as anyone who showed himself on the 
skyline was immediately sniped. Bullets were con- 
tinually whistling over this ridge. Our water supply, 
which was limited to one gallon per man for twenty- 
four hours (to include drinking, washing and cooking), 
was drawn from the two wells at the bottom of the hill 
and from the mule water-convoys which crossed the Salt 
Lake at night from " A " Beach. Water was fetched 
at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and indents had to be in the night 
before ; it seemed a novel idea to us to have to indent 
for water ! The supply was organized by the D.A.D.M.S. 
and was in charge of an A.S.C. officer. Each regiment 
sent two R.A.M.C. water-duty men to assist at the dis- 
tribution — unfortunately, the enemy got to know of the 



ENGLAND— EGYPT— GALLIPOLI 35 

queue of men waiting under the hill morning and evening, 
and we had many casualties on this account. Eventually 
it was arranged that the men should wait on the hill 
and run over in pairs to fetch their water. All the con- 
densed water brought from the ships by the mule transport 
was carried in old petrol-tins, which proved invaluable. 
A high wall of sandbags was built round our two Field 
Ambulances at the bottom of the hill, but in spite of 
this their casualties were frequent. Ammunition and 
ration dumps were formed nearby and were replenished 
nightly by the Mule Corps. Parties were sent out over 
the battle-field to bury the dead and collect equipment 
and ammunition. Whenever the mule convoys had to 
cross the Salt Lake by day they were shelled, and a 
line of dead mules marked the way from Chocolate 
Hill to Suvla " A " Beach. Whenever any number of 
men crossed this plain they were shelled, but single 
individuals were left alone. The advance post of the 
32nd Field Ambulance on the Salt Lake lost so many 
of its personnel from shell fire that it had to be 
abandoned. I established my Brigade Dressing Station 
in our camp, and soon afterwards lost one of my men 
from a " spare." These spares were probably meant for 
the top of the hill, but being spent, they dropped on 
to us. 

Intelligence reports informed us that the Turks were 
massing for a counter-attack, which might be ex- 
pected in the early dawn. At midday our ships' guns 
got to work again, and as we sat on our hill the shells 
passed directly over us. After lunch a letter was read 
from our Divisional General congratulating the Division 
on its magnificent behaviour under fire, and especially the 
Second Mounted Brigade (Berks, Bucks and Dorset 
Yeomanry) on the splendid way they had attacked Hill 
70. Numerous telephone wires ran from the crest of 
our hill to Lala Baba and the beach, so that observation 
officers could inform our ships and Field Artillery of the 
effect of their fire. 



86 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

August 24sth. 

During the morning one of our wells ran dry and we 
were limited to one water-bottle a day each and a little 
extra water per ten men for making tea. One was afraid 
of eating one's fill of bully beef, as it caused such a 
thirst. After lunch I obtained permission from the 
General for myself and orderly to walk over to Suvla 
" A " Beach, in order to fetch some warm clothes, as 
the nights were now cold. It was a distance of about 
4| miles each way, by the route across the Salt Lake. 
There was a certain amount of risk, but that was 
certainly not as great as that of our usual position 
on the hill. Although parties were always shelled when 
crossing the open, I knew, from watching on previous 
days, that the Turks considered it a waste to shell single 
men. The only danger was from spares coming over 
from the trenches Ij miles to the east, but these we 
also had on our hill. We passed the position 
formerly held by the 32nd Field Ambulance, whose 
dugouts had been completely flattened out, and then 
followed the track over the lake, which was punctu- 
ated by dead mules. It had been found impossible to 
bury these animals, as the clay forming the bed of the 
lake was very hard and any party of men digging would 
have been immediately shelled. A tremendous thunder- 
storm suddenly came on, which made our progress across 
the lake very slow, as the dry clay became wet and slippery. 
On reaching our former camp we found the Quartermaster 
and three other officers whom we had left at Lemnos 
as a first reserve ; they had just arrived on a destroyer, 
so I promised to conduct them to Chocolate Hill. After 
my servant had collected a few things and we had had 
a good bathe, we commenced the return journey. Walking 
one behind the other, at an interval of two hundred 
yards. Chocolate Hill was reached without any incident. 
In the evening an order was read out that we were to 
stand to arms every morning at 4.30 a.m., as that was 
apparently the usual time for a Turkish counter-attack. 



ENGLAND— EGYPT—GALLIPOLI 8T 

August 25th. 

We stood to at daylight, but bar the usual rifle fire 
nothing was doing. After breakfast I attended to some 
Irish wounded, brought into the reserve trenches at the 
top of the hill. During the morning we were heavily 
shelled, and had several men killed and wounded in their 
primitive dugouts. Fifty men per regiment were sent 
into the advance trenches to strengthen the Eleventh 
Division and learn their duties in stationary trench war- 
fare. Burial parties were again sent out into the plain 
to search for missing and collect equipment. After supper 
our Divisional General joined us ; he told us that one 
of his R.E. officers had discovered a new Turkish well, 
and that probably our supply of water would be in- 
creased. 

August 2eth. 

In the afternoon two of us walked across to the Welsh 
Casualty Clearing Station on the beach ; taking a different 
route across the lake, we came across several unexploded 
shells embedded in the clay, and examined the large 
craters formed by the enemy's H.E. Here were situated 
some of the hastily made Turkish trenches of the original 
landing. They contained Turkish equipment, broken rifles 
and dead Turks. On arrival at our hill we found that 
an Intelligence report had just come in (aeroplane) 
announcing the appearance of six large red cylinders 
behind the village of Kutchuk Anafarta; these were 
supposed to contain gas. Respirators (of the most primi- 
tive type !) were served out to all, and Brigade M.O.'s 
instructed the men how to use them. 

In the evening a large packet of maps was delivered 
at Brigade H.Q. ; we were all very pleased, as the maps 
which had been served out were scarce and lacking 
largely in detail. When the packet was opened it was 
found to contain maps of the Cromer, Sheringham 
and King's Lynn districts where we had been stationed 
in 1914 ! 



88 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

August 27th, 

While having tea with the officers of the Second Mounted 
Brigade Field Ambulance in the tunnel in which they 
were living (they could no longer exist aboveground in 
their exposed position at the bottom of the hill), we heard 
a tremendous bombardment going on about two miles to 
the right of our position. Seizing our glasses, two of us 
ran up the hill and lay down in the scrub on its right- 
hand shoulder. Here we had a wonderful view of an 
Australian and a Ghurka Brigade advancing south of the 
Kasa Dere valley on Hill 60. We saw these troops, 
aided by the Connaughts and the South Wales Borderers, 
drive the enemy out of three rows of trenches amidst 
clouds of H.E. smoke and ultimately take the hill. It 
was a brilliant piece of work. 

August 2Sth. 

There was an alarm at 1.30 a.m. — very heavy rifle 
fire on the other side of our hill and thousands of bullets 
whistling over us. The enemy had sapped and taken 
one of our front trenches. We began to think that we 
might have to evacuate the hill. However, the trench 
was retaken with bombing, and things quietened down. 
At 8 a.m. the Turks got a new gun in position and began 
to enfilade our hill with shrapnel. This was a new ex- 
perience, as hitherto they had always fired over the hill. 
Our dugouts which looked east and west were now not 
so useful, as shells came from the north. Just before 
breakfast three Gloucesters were killed and four wounded 
ten yards above us, and ten minutes later, while the 
men were having breakfast, three shells exploded in the 
midst of C Squadron, Worcester Yeomanry, killing three 
and wounding nineteen. Meanwhile the Yeomanry Bri- 
gades lower down the hill were faring little better, and 
both our Field Ambulances suffered ; however, one of 
our big guns behind Lala Baba saw our trouble and silenced 
the enfilading gun for a while. At 10 a.m., while attending 
to a man in my dressing station below the ridge, this 

r 




"^ -^^ ..** 1-5 B8i(iAJ>£ 



- Light Ambulance Waggon. 
... Stretcher. 



EVACUATION OF WOUNDED (SECOND MOUNTED DIVISION), 

AUGUST 22-28, 1915. 
(Based on The Times map.) 



ENGLAND—EGYPT--GALLIPOLI 39 

troublesome gun got to work again, and this time I was 
one of the victims. On coming to, I found myself being 
carried face downwards on a stretcher by my own men. 
Suddenly another shell burst, covering us with lumps of 
clay ; one bearer stumbled, recovered himself, and we 
went on. Ultimately they deposited me at Brigade Head- 
quarters, where I was dressed. I now started on the 
usual journey of the wounded to the coast. They carried 
me to the bottom of the hill to the Second Mounted 
Brigade Field Ambulance, where a mule ambulance cart 
was standing to convey wounded to the beach. While 
four of us were waiting to be lifted into the cart, a shell 
burst and killed the two leading mules. They were cut 
away from the survivors, but it was an hour before new 
ones could be procured. Meanwhile, more wounded were 
accumulating in the Field Ambulance. It was the most 
uncomfortable hour I had ever spent, lying on one's face 
on a stretcher unable to move and getting stiffer and 
stiffer, and never knowing where the next shell would 
fall, as the mules were killed about ten yards from where 
we lay. However, we were off at last, four lying and 
four sitting cases, jolting over the bed of the Salt Lake. 
The blinds were drawn and we could see nothing, but 
twice a shell fell near the waggon ; the good little mules 
plodded on and eventually brought us to the Welsh 
Casualty Clearing Station. Here we each received our 
injection of anti-tetanic serum, and after waiting about 
two hours were carried on to the barges. On the way 
out to the hospital ship a shell meant for a monitor gave 
some of us rather a shock. On coming alongside, those 
who could walk went up the steps, and the rest of us were 
slung on board by means of winches, the stretchers being 
placed in a sort of crate before being hoisted out of the 
barge. We found ourselves on board that excellent ship, 
H.S.F.A. Rewa, My wound was just below the right 
shoulder, and the shrapnel bullet had tracked up to the 
cervical spine ; it was stiff and painful. Most of us 
managed to enjoy our dinners, which, although " light 
diet," were delicious, after the food we had been accus- 



40 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

tomed to lately. Best of all, we were allowed as much 
water to drink as we liked, as the ship had her own con- 
densing plant on board. 

August 31st, 

At dawn the Rewa entered Mudros Bay ; here the 
walking cases were transferred to the stationary hos- 
pital and other stretcher cases were embarked. . . . 
After an uneventful voyage Devonport was reached on 
September 9th, and we were all transferred by hospital 
train to London. 



CHAPTER II 

MUDROS— MENA CAMP 

November 5th. 

At 2 p.m. H.M.T. Andania left Devonport carrying 
drafts of various regiments to the Dardanelles ; many 
of us had been there before, and had recovered from our 
wounds. 

November 12ih, 

Our troopship entered Malta Harbour about midday ; 
the latter contained numerous British and French gun- 
boats, destroyers and transports — amongst these we saw 
the troopship Mercia, carrying the Lincolnshire Yeomanry, 
which had preceded the Andania and had suffered consider- 
ably from an attack by a submarine. Two of us spent 
an interesting day in the town visiting the splendid 
collection of armour in the palace of the Knights of 
Malta. Before returning to our ship we were shown all 
over the submarine which we were told Commander 
Boyle, V.C, had navigated through the Dardanelles. 

November 13th, 

The Orange Prince was reported to have been submarined 
outside Malta. We sailed in the early morning. 

November 15th. 

Our escort of T.B.D.'s met our ship amongst the Greek 
islands and convoyed us to Mudros Bay, which we reached 
on the following day. 

41 



42 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

November l^th. 

Although no official landing orders were received, six of 
us, anxious to know the whereabouts and the strength 
of our units, were given permission to go ashore in one 
of the ship's boats on the condition that we were back 
by 5 p.m. By mistake we rowed to East Mudros, which 
appeared to be entirely occupied by French, European 
and native troops. After ascertaining that there were 
no British troops in the vicinity, we put off in our boat, 
chiefly manned by officers and men of an Australian 
Bridging Train, for the opposite side of the Bay, and landed 
at West Mudros. After spending a couple of fruitless 
hours looking for our units, we returned to our rowing 
boat and embarked. By the time we had reached the 
transports in the Bay it was dark, and an hour was spent 
in searching for the Andania. It was after 5 p.m., and 
a voice from our ship informed us that the " steps " 
were up, and that we were to come on board by a rope- 
ladder hung over the bows. Climbing on to a barge, 
three of us commenced to ascend ; the first man had 
just got on board when suddenly I found a large bale 
descending on my shoulder. I started to descend, but could 
not do so fast enough ; my right arm became useless, and 
thoughts of letting go passed through my mind as the 
pressure became greater, but I remembered that I should 
fall not into the sea but on to the iron deck of the barge 
far below. However, the first man up heard my shouts 
and attracted the attention of the donkey-man, who in 
the nick of time reversed his engine and thus took the 
load off my shoulder. It was an unpleasant experience, 
and I eventually arrived on deck in a somewhat shaky 
condition. 

November 17th, 

As a gale was blowing it was not considered safe to 
land, so we remained at anchor in the Bay. In the after- 
noon a large supply barge, in calm weather propelled by 
a small motor, drifted by us, making for the open sea 



MUDROS— MENA CAMP 48 

stern first and completely out of control. Hearing the 
agonized cries from the two A.S.C. men on board, wire 
hawsers were thrown from the Andania and the men 
were rescued. 

November 18th, 

During the morning we were landed in tugs at West 
Mudros ; after reporting at H.Q. Lines of Communication, 
a walk of four miles brought us to the Ninth Corps 
Rest Camp, where the remains of the Second Mounted 
(Yeomanry) Division were under canvas. Only ninety 
of our original regiment were left, and only one of the 
attached R.A.M.C. The camp was situate in a bleak 
valley and the weather was bitterly cold. 

November 20th. 

On climbing to the summit of a hill surmounted by a 
Greek chapel we obtained a fine view of the Bay full 
of shipping, the latter being dwarfed by the enormous 
Olympic and Aquitania. 

November 21st, 

Many tents were blown down by the gale ; one unfor- 
tunate officer woke in the night feeling remarkably cold, 
but in time to see his tent departing in the direction of 
Imbros. 

November 22nd, 

As we were merely awaiting embarkation orders no 
work was undertaken, and expeditions in the island were 
the order of the day. The village of Condia was first 
explored, but it was found to be an uninviting place. 
The road between this village and our camp was patrolled 
by a Greek gendarme ; he did not quite know what his 
duties were, as the road was already patrolled by our 
M.F.P.'s; however, he solved the difficulty by opening 
a little stall, where he did a thriving trade in chocolate 
and cigarettes. 



44 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

November 23rd. 

On the way to Castro, the capital of the island, one 
of our party shot a vulture, and we saw it fall about a 
quarter of a mile away. A Greek peasant ran to secure it ; 
however, one of us got there first and seized the bird, 
only to be rewarded with a nasty wound on the arm, 
caused by the former in its death struggle. Castro proved 
to be a picturesque town, reminding one of the Balkans, 
and boasted an inn which produced an excellent omelette 
and good white wine. On the return journey we took 
a different route, and not having the requisite passes to 
present to the pickets on the road, we left the latter and 
struck across country instead. 

The natural hot baths at Thermopylae proved a great 
boon to the men, as the bitterly cold weather did not 
make cold baths popular. 

November 2Mh, 

Orders were received to embark at West Mudros. One 
Brigade, having disposed of all its mess stores and handed 
over its tents to other units, marched down to the beach 
to find that orders were cancelled, and was compelled 
to return to its bare bleak camp for another three days. 

November 2Qth, 

The remains of the Worcester, Berks, Dorset, Bucks, 
Herts and Westminster Yeomanry, accompanied by the 
London Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, left the 
Ninth Corps Rest Camp and embarked on a large flat 
ferry steamer, and were transferred to H.M.S. Hannibal 
in the Bay. During the proceedings several valises fell 
overboard, and after bobbing up and down for a few 
minutes quietly sank. Except for the owners it was 
an amusing spectacle. 

November 30th, 

H.M.S. Hannibal arrived at Alexandria and we entrained 
for Cairo. 



MUDROS— MENA CAMP 45 

December 1st to 20th, 

During the next three weeks the fourteen Yeomanry 
regiments of the Second Mounted Division, which had 
now returned to their horses, were camped in the desert 
near Mena, close to the Pyramids. The weather was 
beautiful, and it was a delightful change after the bitter 
cold experienced at the Dardanelles. The camp was 
situate well above the Nile flood water, amidst intensely 
interesting and historic surroundings. The sunsets were 
wonderful, especially when the Mokattam Hills became 
tinged a delicate pink. 

December 25th. 

About this date the Division left Mena, the First Brigade 
proceeding to Salhia Kantara and El Ferdan (the latter 
two on the Canal), the Second Brigade taking part in 
the Senussi campaign on the western frontier, the Third 
Brigade embarking for Salonika, and the Fourth Brigade 
marching to Abassia. The author of this diary, having 
been admitted to Mena House Military Hospital with 
enteric fever, was for a period unable to keep himself 
informed of current events. 

1916. 

February 12th, 

At sunset the hospital ship Oxfordshire left Alexandria 
with her complement of sick and wounded. 

February 15th. 

Our ship arrived at Malta at 9 a.m. ; here some of the 
convalescents were disembarked for Palermo and some 
Salonika wounded were taken on board. 

February 22nd, 

We arrived at Southampton in a snowstorm ; what a 
contrast to the warm weather in Malta a week ago ! 
The usual hospital train was waiting and carried us swiftly 
to London. 



CHAPTER III 

THE SINAI DESERT 

May 10th. 

Off to the East again for the third time in thirteen 
months ; this time it was on the empty hospital ship 
Carisbrooke Castle, outward bound from Southampton 
to Alexandria. 

May 21st, 

Alexandria was reached at 10 a.m., the sight of which 
now appeared quite familiar. Being in charge of R.A.M.C, 
drafts for the Fifty-second Division, my first duty was 
to march the men to the Base Details Camp at Mustapha. 

May 24iih. 

At 8 p.m. a troop train, containing drafts for all the 
regiments on the Canal, left Sidi Gaba station. The 
draft for the Worcester Yeomanry contained many of 
our Gallipoli wounded, two of my personal friends being 
in charge. 

May 25th. 

At 4.30 a.m. our train arrived at Ballah, a post on 
the western side of the Canal, between Kantara and El 
Ferdan. Horses had been sent to meet us, as our camp 
was some distance across the desert. Here we found the 
remains of our regiment, which had suffered so severely 
at Katia and Oghratina on Easter Sunday. In addition 
to our regiment there were in this camp two squadrons 

16 



THE SINAI DESERT 47 

of Warwickshire Yeomanry, " B " Battery H.A.C., our 
Field Ambulance and A.S.C., A.V.C. and R.E. details. 
Nearer the Canal was a part of the 33rd Field 
Ambulance and the 26th Casualty Clearing Station ; on 
the opposite bank were some Brigades of the Eleventh 
Division. Two squadrons of Gloucester Yeomanry were 
at El Ferdan and one squadron of the Warwickshire 
Yeomanry were at Ballybunnion. Our drinking water 
supply came by pipe from Ismailia and was carried from 
a depot near the station by water-cart. Washing water 
was obtained from a branch of the Sweet-water Canal ; 
this water contained Bilharzia hcematohia, and in order 
to render it safe for ablution purposes it had to be 
pumped into tanks and allowed to stand for forty-eight 
hours before use — the organism, whose habitat is the 
snail, dies twenty-four hours after it leaves its host. A 
sentry was always on duty at the tanks and an R.A.M.C. 
water-duty man was in charge. 

May 2Qth. 

It was most curious to watch the large steamers passing 
through the Canal : at a little distance they appeared 
to be sailing through the desert. Numerous flamingos 
were to be seen, of a delicate pink colour, but of no 
use as food. 

May 27th, 

Bathing in the Canal was most refreshing in the evening, 
but we were not allowed to swim across to the other side. 
A picket patrolled the opposite side of the Canal day 
and night to prevent native spies from placing mines 
in the fairway. Every night a detachment of the Bikanir 
Camel Corps dragged a sort of wooden sledge along the 
bank, so that footprints on the smooth track could be 
detected at once in the morning ; by this means, at a 
later date, Turkish prisoners were caught after they had 
crossed the Canal. After bathing, we usually remained 
a while and watched the evening steamers passing by. 
All neutral vessels had a guard of soldiers on board for 



48 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the Canal passage ; they were sent on board at Suez 
or Port Said in order to prevent the benevolent neutrals 
from sowing mines. 

May 2^th, 

In the morning two of us took the train to Port Said 
in order to do some mess shopping ; it was a disappointing 
town, and the only thing that appeared to be of interest 
was the statue of De Lesseps at the end of the pier. We 
were rowed across to the Asiatic bank, where we visited 
some of our wounded in the Thirty-first General Hospital. 

May SOth, 

A case of smallpox having occurred in this area, orders 
were received to vaccinate everyone. This disease 
appeared to be common amongst the natives. No one 
was allowed to leave the camp during the morning, as 
the Ballah guns were practising. After lunch we found 
our first chameleon, which proved most useful in eating 
all the flies in the mess ; later on we kept quite a large 
number of these little animals, which Jbecame quite tame 
and used to live on the tent-poles ; one of these, known 
by the name of Cuthbert, held the record for eating fifty 
flies before breakfast. 

June 1st, 

To-day we heard that there was a rumour of a move ; 
this usually happened when we had put in a lot of work 
and got thoroughly settled. The men had been working 
for weeks building reed mess-huts and sun-shelters over 
the horse lines. 

June 2nd, 

Orders were received to march to Kantara on the 5th. 

June 8rd. 

" Intelligence " stated that a German Turkish offensive 
was maturing at El Arish. 



,^_4 y>>i-, 




THE SINAI DESERT 4» 

June 5th, 

At 4 a.m. two of us, with eighty men, marched down 
to the Canal, where we found a large barge, on which 
our heavy materiel had been loaded the day before. 
After embarking the men we woke up a Sapper and had 
some breakfast with him on his river steamer ; he was 
building a road between Ballah and Kantara. At 5 a.m. 
a tug came along with the Gloucester barge from El 
Ferdan ; we tied on, and proceeded up the Canal to 
Kantara. The rest of the Brigade came across country with 
the camels. We arrived about 8 a.m. and disembarked 
above the pontoon bridge. Kantara, at this time a very 
small place and on the eastern side of the Canal, consisted 
only of the quarantine house and the tents belonging 
to two or three regiments. Our camp was about a mile 
along the old caravan route, which leads through the Sinai 
Peninsula to Palestine, and was situate between part of 
the Fifty-second Lowland Division and the Scottish 
Horse Brigade ; on the opposite side of the track was an 
aerodrome, and between our camp and the Canal was an 
artillery park. In the evening several of us walked 
through the gunners' lines to the Canal, where we found 
a good bathing place off an old barge. As swimming 
across this part of the Canal was not forbidden, we 
amused ourselves by swimming from Asia to Africa and 
back again. 

June 6th, 

Machine guns had now been mounted round our camp, 
in order to be ready for "aviatiks," should they appear. 
We were inlying regiments for the day, ready to move out 
in case of an alarm. In the evening we walked round 
some of the trenches and posts protecting our camp ; 
the trenches were well revetted in the loose sand. Special 
orders were issued as to procedure in the event of an 
aeroplane attack. As our Fifth Mounted Brigade Field 
Ambulance had remained at Ballah, I received orders to 
evacuate any sick and wounded to the 2nd Lowland 

4 



50 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Field Ambulance. The evening Intelligence report stated 
that enemy concentration was rapidly proceeding at 
El Arish. An " agent " reported one German aeroplane 
made of gold ! The Germans had apparently given this 
out in order to impress the natives. The " agent " also 
reported numerous foreign officers with fair hair and 
yellow (sic) eyes, followed by long dogs with short 
legs which came to heel when whistled to ! Inference 
of " agent " — probably Germans ! These agents were 
generally Bedouin, employed by both sides as spies. 
They had, however, to prove their identity before 
entering our camp. 

June 9th. 

In the evening our Brigade moved into the trenches 
which would be occupied by us in the event of an attack 
on Kantara ; these consisted of a series of barbed wire 
entanglements and an intricate system of trenches with 
occasional strong posts. The artificial inundations from 
the Canal completed the defences north and south. The 
idea in those days was that we should hold out until all 
other troops and materiel had been removed across the 
Canal. 

June 10th, 

In the morning some of us rode out to a post known 
as Hill 40, where the AustralioU Light Horse and some 
Scottish regiments were stationed. The flamingos on 
the edge of the inundation were most picturesque. 

Jtme llth. 

It was a very hot day, with absolutely no breeze. At 
2.45 p.m., while we were resting in our tent, we were 
awoken by several explosions, and ran out to find an 
" aviatik " immediately overhead. An explosion followed 
close to the 2nd Lowland Field Ambulance. In all nine 
bombs were dropped : two fell in the Canal, one near 
the station, two behind the R.F.C. sheds and some in 
the A.V.C. lines. Very little damage was done, two or 



THE SINAI DESERT 51 

three men being wounded and twelve mules killed. The 
regiment, except for one man to every six horses, paraded 
outside the camp, according to orders. Our machine 
guns responded without any success. One of our battle- 
planes ascended, but the enemy had done his work and 
had got a good start for the east. He was chased as 
far as Bir El Abd, and was then lost in a cloud. This 
was my first experience of being bombed in the Sinai 
Peninsula. 

June 12th. 

To-day it was rumoured that Baghdad had fallen — 
rumours travel fast in the East. Two fresh battalions 
of infantry reinforced us during the day. 

June ISth, 

Early this morning ten aeroplanes collected on the 
aerodrome, three having joined up from Ismaiha. By 
7.30 they had all left, flying due east ; this was our revenge 
for last Sunday. Later in the morning seven returned ; 
two were said to have been shot down at El Arish, where 
the others had caused considerable damage to the Turkish 
camp outside the town. 

June 20th. 

It was decided that two of us, accompanied by two 
sergeants and twelve men, should march to Katia, in order 
to re-bury and identify some of our dead. A few days 
after the battle these had been buried by the Australian 
Light Horse, but news had reached us that the wind 
had uncovered the graves in the exposed position. At 
10.30 p.m. a message came through from Ismailia stating 
that a cyclone was approaching the Canal area at 90 miles 
an hour, and that our tents and huts would be blown 
away unless strengthened. A few minutes later every 
tent-peg in Kantara was being driven deeper into the 
sand, and the tapping of the mallets resounded throughout 
the camp. Everyone stood by for the expected cyclone ; 



52 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

this, however, never arrived. It is supposed that it 
must have taken a different course, as, with the exception 
of a stiff breeze, nothing occurred. 

June 21st, 

At 1 a.m. our little party left the camp, accompanied 
by the Padre. Our way lay through Hill 40, and passing 
through this post in the dark was quite jumpy work, 
as the sentries were very much on the alert and suddenly 
leapt out of obscurity into the middle of the track with 
bayonet fixed and gruff challenge. By 2.30 a.m. it was 
getting light as we arrived at the last fortified camp, 
known as Hill 70. Here we watered our horses as the sun 
rose behind the great sand mountain Katib Abu Asab, a 
landmark for miles around. Up till now we had been 
following a desert track by the side of our narrow-gauge 
railway, laid down by the R.E., but now we struck across 
the open and met the broad-gauge railway which then 
ran from Kantara to Romani, and which was destined 
to connect Egypt with Syria. Some miles to the right 
of our path lay the camp of Dueidar, where six weeks 
ago a company of the Royal Scots Fusiliers made such 
a brilliant stand. To our left lay the plain of Tina, with the 
Bay in the distance, and the site of the ancient Roman 
city of Pelusium ; the latter the Romans called the key 
to Egypt, as in those days the Nile is supposed to have 
flowed out into Tina Bay. The going now became very 
heavy, over undulating sandy country heavily dotted 
with clumps of " camel-grass." A wonderful mirage 
appeared in the Bay of Tina, rows of white houses 
being seen apparently standing in the water ; this was 
evidently caused by a reflection of Port Said, some 
25 miles to the west. We now followed a field-tele- 
phone wire which would eventually lead us to Romani. A 
few large birds flew overhead, kites and bustards, the only 
other signs of animal life being jerboas (kangaroo rats), 
lizards and chameleons. After stopping for breakfast 
we crossed a ridge of sandy hills, the spurs of which 
extended down to the plain, and obtained a wonderful 



THE SINAI DESERT 53 

view of the surrounding country. The landscape had 
altered and we had begun to enter the great Katia water- 
belt, or the land of Hods. A Hod is usually a depression 
in the desert, studded with palm-trees and containing 
water, of a varying degree of brackishness, just below 
the surface of the ground. This water can sometimes 
be drunk by human beings, and horses will generally drink 
it unless the degree of salinity is very high. When drunk 
by the former, intestinal catarrhs are apt to follow. The 
water is usually obtained by sinking a shaft four to six feet 
deep, revetting the sides with sandbags, and then letting in 
a cylinder of corrugated iron. It was considered essential 
that the Katia waterbelt should be held by our troops, 
as it was the last district the Turks could obtain water 
from, and thus constituted a jumping-off place for an 
attack on the Canal. From our position we could see 
several of these Hods scattered about over the landscape. 
It was ten o'clock and getting very hot as we rode through 
a large Hod, the water of which was so brackish that the 
salt lay deposited on the sand, and saw part of the Romani 
camp at the end of a long sandy valley. We had now 
been riding for ten hours and had covered some 30 miles, 
this being the average horse pace (including halts) through 
the heavy sand. The first camp was that occupied 
by the Bikanir and Egyptian Camel Corps. Here 
we saw thousands of camels, which carried out all the 
transport of supplies and water to the isolated posts. 
Romani was, at this time, both railhead and pipe-head. 
We rode on a mile or two through the various camps, 
which were very much spread out on account of recent 
enemy bombing, until we reached Brigade H.Q. of the 
Second Australian Light Horse Brigade, situated in a 
little Hod by itself. The Brigade was out on recon- 
naissance, but we found the Staff Captain and Supply 
Officer, from whom we drew three days' rations for our 
men and horses. We also procured the regulation amount 
of water in " fanatis " ^ and a certain number of camels. 

^ Fantassi (plural fanatis) = zinc water-container of about ten 
gallons capacity, two of which are usually carried by a camel. 



54 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

After lunch we tried to get some sleep, but the extreme 
heat down in the hollow and the enormous number of 
flies made this difficult. It was agreed that we should 
start at three o'clock next morning, with an Australian 
guide to show us the best way to Katia and Oghratina. 
We were informed that we should have to return 
immediately after the patrols between the former place 
and Bir El Abd came in. 

June 22nd, 

We left Romani, after watering just outside camp, at 
3 a.m., with our Light Horse guide. After going a short 
distance one camel sank in some boggy ground and had 
to be unloaded before he could be extricated ; luckily, we 
saved the two fanatis of drinking water which he carried. 
The desert was very picturesque, so different from the 
endless sandy wastes of Libya. To our left lay the sea 
and the camp of Mahamdiya. The camels were rather 
troublesome, so I took one party on while my companion 
went back to try a little persuasion. We rode over some 
very deep sand drifts, sand ridges, and " saddles," whose 
conformation was continually changing according to the 
prevailing wind. In one Hod which we passed there 
was actually standing water, and in most of them there 
was evidence of former Bedouin encampments. These 
Bedouin had now been cleared from this district, as they 
were often found to be enemy agents. The palm-trees 
were loaded with dates, but these were still green. As 
we were passing through a little sandy valley we came 
across footmarks, which greatly excited our guide, who 
assured us that they were recent, since the dew, and not 
those of our patrol. We hastily got our camels down 
off the sky-line, and all took cover behind a small ridge. 
One of the enemy's patrols could be seen about a mile 
away ; thinking it best to be cautious, we waited until 
the Turk had disappeared before continuing our journey. 
By 9.30 we were on firm ground and were entering the 
northern Oghratina Oasis, known as Hod En Negiliat. 
At this point we came across the old Sinai telegraph line 



THE SINAI DESERT 55 

which formerly connected Kantara with Jerusalem. In 
the Hod were congregated a large number of camels, 
with supplies and drinking water for the Australian 
Light Horse Brigade, which was doing the two days' 
patrol between this spot and Bir El Abd. Three wells 
had been sunk in this Hod in April, at the time of the 
recent fighting, in order to water camels and horses. 
All drinking water had to be carried out in fanatis from 
pipehead at Romani. At 11 a.m. two of us climbed 
the northern face of Oghratina Hill ; this was very steep 
and of loose sand. The hill itself was horseshoe shaped 
and we were at one extremity ; it was here that 
one and a half squadrons of our regiment, with some 
R.E.'s and R.A.M.C, had been surrounded and attacked 
early on Easter Sunday morning, in a white mist, by a 
force of 2,000 Turks with artillery. Our visit was in 
order to estimate the number of bodies to be re-buried. 
Everywhere there was evidence of a stubborn resistance, 
and a very large number of Turkish corpses lay on the 
western slope. All the bodies and graves were round the 
circumference of the hill ; each man lay where he fell. 
Most of the bodies had been stripped by the Bedouin of 
their clothing, identification discs and boots. We now 
descended to our palm grove again and rested till three 
o'clock, when a camel was loaded with 500 sandbags and 
spades and the whole party climbed the hill. The sad work 
now proceeded of reinterring, and covering the graves with 
sandbags, where necessary. Most of these had been 
lightly covered with sand, which had, in many cases, been 
blown away by the wind on the exposed western slopes. 
By 7 p.m. we had completed our work, and descended 
to the palm grove again. As the Brigade which was 
operating in the vicinity was to be withdrawn next 
day, we were told that we must be ready to move 
at 1 a.m. 

June 2Srd. 

We left Oghratina at 3 p.m. and marched on a compass 
bearing of 260°, leaving Katia on our left. Here some 



56 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

squadrons of the Worcester and Gloucester Yeomanry 
had been attacked by 3,000 Turks and Germans with 
artillery. The bodies had been properly interred a day 
or two after the engagement, but it was now almost 
impossible to approach, on account of the very large 
number of dead horses and camels. As we approached 
the sandhills which protect Romani to the eastward, 
we noticed how strongly the latter place was defended 
with trenches, wire, guns and strong posts. Passing 
through a narrow defile in the sandhills, we arrived at 
the water-troughs at 6 a.m ; after resting in the heat 
of the day we rode straight back on a compass bearing 
of 240° through Hills 70 and 40 to Kantara, where we 
arrived at 9.30 p.m., having done about 40 miles since 
three o'clock in the morning. 

June 25th. 

Dummy hangars and dummy guns were erected on 
the aerodrome, as retaliation was expected for our recent 
successful raid on El Arish. 

June 27th, 

Enemy aeroplanes approached during the morning, 
but were driven off by our scouts. A large boxing contest 
took place at night between the Fifty-second Division, 
Fifth Mounted Brigade and the Scottish Horse Brigade. 
In the evening the G.O.C. Third Section distributed the 
prizes. 

June 2Sth, 

An " aviatik " appeared over camp during the morning, 
but did no damage. Later in the day one large Haviland 
machine was brought down by the enemy ; one of our 
aeroplanes was also brought down near El Arish, but the 
pilot and observer managed to escape by walking along 
the coast to Mahamdiya. A mounted patrol tried to 
save the machine near El Abd, but was beaten off by 
the Turks. 



THE SINAI DESERT 57 

June 2^th, 

The Warwickshire Yeomanry proceeded to Hill 70, 
their camp being taken over by a regiment of the New 
Zealand Mounted Rifles. 

July Srd. 

While at dinner our patrols brought in 150 camels 
captured from the Bedouin. From our mess tent 
we watched searchlights of the steamers in the Canal 
flashing across the desert. The old pilgrim route along 
which the caravans have journeyed for thousands of 
years passed just outside our camp ; this was the route 
which connected the Holy Land with Egypt, and must 
have been traversed during the Flight into Egypt soon 
after Our Lord was born. This little caravan must have 
used the same Hods for water which the British troops 
were using now. Probably at that time the Nile ran out 
into Tina Bay, near Romani, where the ancient city of 
Pelusium, the " key of Egypt," was situated. One 
could not help wondering what could have been the 
determining factor in altering the course of such a mighty 
river. 

July 19th, 

The Brigadier and General Commanding the Third 
Section dined with us at night. In the middle of dinner 
they both received urgent messages and were compelled 
to leave ; intelligence had come through that a force 
of Turks had collected at El Abd and was advancing 
towards us. There were 8,000 at El Abd, and our patrols 
had also been engaged at Oghratina. Several infantry 
regiments reinforced us from the other side of the Canal 
during the night. 

July 20th. 

More regiments from the Fifty-third and Forty-second 
Divisions marched in. At twelve o'clock orders were re- 
ceived for one squadron of the Worcesters, one squadron 



58 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

of the Gloucesters and two squadrons of the New Zealand 
Mounted Rifles to be ready to move off if required. I 
was ordered to go in medical charge of this composite 
regiment. 

At 10 p.m. we moved off, consisting of Gloucesters, 
Worcesters and New Zealand squadrons ; the desert 
seemed to be alive with infantry battalions and guns, 
which kept bumping into us in the dark, and a brilliantly 
lit hospital ship passing down the Canal gave a sort of 
omen of what was to come. We halted at Hill 40, where 
the Adjutant of a New Zealand regiment told us that 
patrols had been in action near Oghratina, in the vicinity 
of which 10,000 of the enemy were said to be entrenched. 
Hill 70 was reached before midnight, here the air was 
still more pregnant with rumours, and after watering 
our horses we bivouacked for the night. 

July 21st. 

When it got light we found the Warwickshire Yeomanry, 
who had been here three weeks, camped close by. The 
following order was issued : 

It is forbidden to drink water from desert wells, which are nearly 
always polluted. At the same time it is recognized that there 
may be cases where it is unavoidable — for instance, a wounded 
man left out, etc. ; to meet such cases, and in order to treat water 
from the wells, each man will be supplied with one bottle of sulphate 
tablets ; should a man find himself in such a position that he must 
drink well water, he will add two tablets to the contents of the 
water-bottle each time he fills it. He will then shake the whole 
thoroughly, and not drink the water until a full half-hour has 
elapsed. 

These tablets were issued to units, and when the occasion 
arose were extremely useful. W^henever it was possible, 
all water was properly sterilized by medical officers with 
chloride of lime. At this time the water allowance was 
good — one gallon per man per day. Of this, five pints 
were used in the cook-house (for cooking, tea, etc.), two 
pints were used for filling the man's water-bottle, and 



THE SINAI DESERT 59 

one pint was allowed for washing purposes. During 
the morning we could hear the Ayrshire R.H.A. shelling 
the Turkish position at Oghratina. The Leicester and 
Somerset R.H.A. were lying next to us. At midday we 
sent an officer to the Hill 70 fort to look out for hostile 
aircraft : his duty was to telephone down to the camp, 
whence the warning was passed to Hill 40 and Kantara. 
An officer from each regiment in the camp took this duty 
for two hours at a stretch. 

Intelligence. — A large body of the enemy located yesterday 
cannot be accounted for to-day ; they are probably moving south. 
The Turks have dug in along a line N. to S., Oghratina to Mageibra 
(7 miles), with 6,000 men. Another 1,500 are at Bir El Abd. 

It appeared that the Turks now held a strong position, 
and a line behind which they could easily bring up rein- 
forcements. We were about 15 miles from that line. 
During the day the Australian Light Horse fell back 
on Romani. One could not help thinking how pleased 
the enemy must have been to have found our well- 
prepared wells at Oghratina. 

Intelligence. — ^Large reinforcements are now on their way from 
El Arish. 

July 22nd. 

At 7.30 an " aviatik " came over, evidently observing 
and counting us ; he was signalled to Kantara, and one of 
our battle-planes came out, but by this time the former 
was on his way home. In this camp the alarm consisted 
of three blows on a whistle, following which all the horses 
were taken off the lines. Then another three whistles 
and all horses were taken outside camp. During the day 
we procured a few tents, as we had come without any 
transport and our only shelter from the sun consisted of 
one horse-blanket each. The Turks were evidently in 
a good position, and it was wonderful how quickly they 
had crossed the 47 dry miles from El Arish to 
Bir El Abd. We were now part of a mobile column, 



60 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

consisting of the Gloucester Yeomanry, the New Zealand 
Mounted Rifles, two R.H.A. batteries and ourselves, 
and were ready to " strike " at a moment's notice. The 
idea apparently was to lure the Turks on to our defences 
at Romani and Dueidar. Later in the day two of our 
officers rode over from Kantara and we heard about the 
prisoners who had already been sent down ; the latter 
stated that Romani was to be attacked and the railway 
and pipe-line cut. We were ordered to send out mounted 
patrols day and night to guard both of these. After 
a conference of C.O.'s we were informed that the mobile 
colunrn would strike when the Turks crossed the line 
Romani— Dueidar. 

July 23rd. 

After standing to from 3 to 4 a.m. the regiment practised 
an attack at Turk's Top Post. 

July 2Uh. 

The Turks were said to be still entrenching, and Intelli- 
gence reported that large numbers of machine guns were 
being brought up. We received orders that while on 
the move no one was to touch his water-bottle between 
dawn and sunset, and that even then he was not to empty 
his bottle until he knew for certain that more water was 
to be issued. 

July 25th, 

An " aviatik " came over at 7.30, but was soon 
driven off. 

Intelligence. — ^The Turks are firmly established at Bir El Abd, 
where they have a good landing-ground for aeroplanes. 

July 26th. ^ 

Intelligence, — ^The enemy have now advanced to Hod Er Reshafat, 
which they now hold. Two thousand camels have been seen at 
Mageibra. 

During the afternoon an " aviatik " dropped a message 
asking us to mark our hospital tents more clearly. 



THE SINAI DESERT 61 

July 27th, 

The following mobile column order was issued : 

Attention of O.C.'s is called to the following : 1. As the number 
of sand-carts and cacolets is limited, great care should be exercised 
that they are only indented for when absolutely necessary. An 
indent should bear the signature of a responsible or medical officer. 

2. As it is probable that the troops will be fighting without 
their tunics, O.C.'s will take steps to ensure that when this occurs 
all field dressings are extracted from the pocket of the tunic and 
pinned to the breeches. 

3. All ranks are reminded that when dressing the wounds of a 
comrade the field dressing belonging to the wounded man should 
be used, and not that of the man who is dressing the wound. 

With regard to order 2, I was very against this, and 
strongly advised that our men should continue to wear 
their tunics in order to avoid sunstroke, and also in order 
to make it possible to wear the cavalry equipment, which 
it was difficult and painful to carry without shoulder- 
straps ; eventually this was agreed upon, and our men 
fought in their tunics and preferred it. 

We were all now getting very impatient, as the Turks 
were steadily advancing and no orders were received to 
attack. 

Intelligence, — ^The Turks are now at Hod Es Sagia, a point 
midway and well in front of the Oghratina-Mageibra lines. 

A few weeks ago we had been told that the Katia water- 
belt district must be held at any price, as it was considered 
a jumping-off place for the Turks before attacking the 
Canal ; and now, directly the Turks advanced all these 
places (with wells made by our engineers) were evacuated. 

July 2Sth. 

Intelligence. — ^The enemy have had a skirmish with the Light 
Horse and have advanced the line Oghratina-Mageibra at the 
following points : (1) Hod Umm Ugba ; (2) Hod El Amoia, and 
at (3) Hill 245. These places are connected by a series of rifle- 
pits and machine-gun emplacements. 

Later. — There has been a general advance from 1, 2 and 8; 
patrols have been in action: one killed, several Turks killed. 



62 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

We received orders to be ready to move at any moment, 
each man to carry three days' rations for himself and 
horse and all water-bottles to be filled overnight. 

July 29th, 

We were ready to move off all night, with horses and 
camels saddled, but no orders arrived. In the afternoon 
one of our aeroplanes flew over rather lop-sided and very 
low. On arrival at Kantara the pilot, who had been 
shot through the chest, died of wounds. 

Intelligence, — Near Hod Umm Ugba, the Wellington Mounted 
Rifles attacked the Turks and drove them back 100 yards, with 
casualties on both sides. Later the Turks advanced their previous 
line in a semicircle (concavity forward), and the Ayrshire Battery 
shelled them while pitching camp at Ugba. 

During the day a squadron of the Duke of Lancaster's Own 
came into our camp. 

Intelligence {later). — ^Tracks are reported at Hod Krush (this 
would extend their northern line to the sea), and, commencing at 
Hod El Khirba, a new line of trenches exists west of Hod Ed Dhakar 
and Hod El Mahari ; gun- tracks seen near Mageibra. Many camps 
have been seen at Mazar and Bir El Abd. Prisoners taken by 
our patrols near Ugba are from the 31st Infantry Regiment. 
Patrols found enemy entrenching west of Hod El Mezahmi, on 
Ridge 100 ; there was firing all along the line east of Katia (which 
we still hold). Posts are also reported between Hills 200 and 245. 
One Austrian officer was caught at the latter post ; he died of 

wounds. 

/ 

July SOth. 

While standing to at 3 a.m., the Somerset R.H.A. 
moved out to Bir En Nuss ; the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers 
came in next to us. 

Intelligence, — We have evacuated Katia. 

August 1st. 

During the morning a monitor in Tina Bay shelled 
the Turks at Oghratina. Romani was heavily bombed 
by enemy aeroplane. 



THE SINAI DESERT 68 

August 2nd, 

Intelligence. — There is almost complete absence of Turks to-day 
— ^they have evacuated Mageibra, as the wells are dry. 

It seemed that the monitor had " annoyed " them ; the 
enemy were wonderful at disappearing and appearing 
again. We were now uncertain whether we were part 
of the Fifth Mounted Brigade or of the New Zealand 
Mounted Brigade. 

August Srd, 

Our G.H.Q. at Ismaiha was bombed during the morning. 
An advance guard of our composite regiment left at 
dawn to prepare a camp at Gilbaan. 

Intelligence, — The Turks have reappeared, and are advancing. 
They now hold Katia, Bir El Hamisar and Bir Nagid (the most 
westerly point, about 6 miles from Dueidar). Our patrols have 
met the Turks between Romani and Katia. 

During the afternoon we received orders to march 
to Gilbaan at dawn on the next day. We heard that 
we were now in the Fifth Mounted Brigade again, under 
our own Brigadier. I realized that if we went into action 
on the morrow we should have no Field Ambulance 
with us, as ours would not be able to arrive in time, and 
that we had no claim on the New Zealand Field Ambulance, 
as we were no longer in that Brigade. 

The Battije of Romani. 

August 4th, 

We heard heavy firing at dawn, which sounded near at 
hand. Orders were received to proceed to Gilbaan at 
once, but these were countermanded at 5 a.m. and the 
order was given to ride as fast as possible to Dueidar, 
that all camel transport was to be left behind, and that 
only pack-ponies were to be taken. I had my camels 
quickly unloaded and only absolute necessaries were 



64 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

transferred to pack-horses. Soon after 5 a.m., after 
watering, we were on the caravan route to Dueidar. 
Here the going was not quite so heavy, and one could 
distinguish the track most of the way. Our column 
was preceded by a small advance guard, and patrols were 
thrown out on either side. After going for about half 
an hour we became aware of rifle fire and machine-gun 
fire ahead of us. A little later a cloud of dust appeared, 
and some riderless horses came galloping up. They 
were evidently part of a gun team which had been 
stampeded by one of the enemy's shells ; after securing 
these, we soon arrived at the fortified camp of Dueidar. 
Here our CO. found orders from the Brigadier — " the 
composite regiment was to proceed to Point 8 (Shohat) 
and at once engage the enemy by attacking his left flank, 
after having first detached one troop at Point 6 (Hod 
Abu Gharab) and another at Point 7 (Hod El Bikriya) " ; 
these two posts fell to two of our troop-leaders, the idea 
being apparently to protect the infantry which would 
detrain at K 25 on the railway. These were the two 
most vulnerable places, through which a southern detach- 
ment of the enemy might force itself. Signallers were 
left with each post, in order that Regimental H.Q. could 
at once be informed if any considerable body attacked 
them. While maps were being studied and arrangements 
made, I called on the M.O. of the Scottish Horse Regiment 
in the fort. After telling him my difficulty about having 
no Field Ambulance to depend on, he said that he would 
telephone to his Field Ambulance for sand-carts, and 
promised to send me some if they turned up ; meanwhile, 
he had aid posts in the trenches of the fort, and as far 
as our posts 6 and 7 were concerned, if I could manage 
to get the casualties to his trenches, he would guarantee 
to get them down into the camp and evacuate them. I 
also got into communication with the Forty-second 
Division and informed them of our difficulty with refer- 
ence to the wounded. After halting for twenty minutes 
at Dueidar, we rode out on a bearing of 60°. As we 
advanced we could see the enemy's shells exploding in 



THE SINAI DESERT 65 

front of us, and machine-gun fire became continuous. 
On passing Points 6 and 7 our two troops were detached. 
Near the latter post I came upon a dismounted Austrahan 
who had just had his horse shot under him ; we mounted 
him on a spare horse and went on. Shortly afterwards 
we had a very uncomfortable few minutes while an 
" aviatik " swooped down and examined us closely. Regi- 
mental and Signalling Headquarters were established at 
the T in Shohat. On looking down into a long valley 
we could see the Turkish infantry lining the opposite 
ridge ; to the left we could see the Romani Gloucester 
squadron down in a valley behind a low ridge, heavily 
engaged with two battalions of Turks. Our CO. immedi- 
ately detached a squadron to go to their assistance. They 
rode down the steep declivity as quickly as possible, left 
their horses in a hollow, and came into action at once. 
Meanwhile, the Worcesters took up a similar position 
on the right of the second Gloucester squadron. To the 
right of the Worcesters, near Hod El Enna, the First 
and Second Australian Light Horse Brigades came into 
action. I established a dressing station at Regimental 
Headquarters and also one at the bottom of the declivity 
in Hod Shohat. Casualties now began to occur, and it 
was necessary to make excursions into various parts 
of the valley. It was sad work bringing the serious 
cases up the steep declivity, tied on to their horses ; but 
this had to be done at once, as they could not be left 
at the bottom. I was forced to abandon my dressing 
station in the Hod itself, as in the event of retirement 
we should never have been able to get the wounded up 
the hill quick enough. At the dressing station cases 
were dressed and placed under shelters formed out of 
horse-blankets and swords. It was now getting very 
hot, and the wounded suffered greatly from thirst. Mean- 
while the sand-cart problem was getting acute, as none 
had turned up and many wounded were waiting to be 
evacuated. However, our Signalling Officer managed 
to get helio connection with Canterbury Post, which 
communicated with the New Zealand Field Ambulance, 



66 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

and an hour later, much to our relief, the first sand -cart 
arrived. During this time we had been heavily engaged, 
and it was a great relief to everyone to hear that the 
New Zealand Mounted Brigade, which had left Hill 70 
after we had started, was just coming into action on 
our extreme left. The Somersetshire R.H.A., attached 
to the New Zealanders, had already been in action for 
some hours, and had been putting in some good shooting ; 
this battery, the Leicester R.H.A. and the Ayrshire 
R.H.A. were wonderfully mobile over the heavy sand 
with their enormous sand-tyres. As soon as the New 
Zealanders joined in, the pressure on our left flank was 
considerably relieved. At midday the Brigadier and 
the Warwickshire Yeomanry joined us ; the latter went 
into action at once, and took up a line on the right of 
our regiment and between it and the First Australian 
Light Horse Brigade. 

General Idea.^ — The Turkish force is estimated at some 18,000 
men. Their advanced guard came in contact with our wire and 
trenches late on the night of August 3rd ; the defences of Romani 
and Katib Gannit were being heavily attacked, bombing and hand- 
to-hand fighting taking place. Meanwhile the heavy Turkish 
guns at Katia were shelling these two places with H.E. The 
enemy's idea was to reduce these forts, pass between Mount Mere- 
dith and Gannit, destroy the railway west of Romani, and then 
proceed via Hills 70 and 40 to Kantara, leaving Dueidar to the 
south. The Forty-second (East Lanes) Division was at Mahamdiya 
and Romani, with a Brigade at Hill 70 and at Pelusium. The 
regiments from Hill 70 were brought up and detrained at K 25. 
A Brigade of the Fifty-third (Welsh) Division was north of 
Romani. The Fifty-second (Lowland) Division was mainly in 
the trenches before Romani and Gannit, and also on the southern 
part of that hill. Heavy batteries were hidden on the Romani 
heights, where also some field guns were in position. The 
R.H.A. batteries were mobile, and worked in conjunction with 
the Mounted Brigade. An important Signalling Station was 
established on the summit of Gannit (240). Dueidar was 
garrisoned mainly by the Scottish Horse. The duty of the 
Mounted Division (consisting of the New Zealand Mounted 
Brigade, the Fifth Mounted (Yeomanry) Brigade, and the First, 

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SKETCH MAP OP ROMANI AND DISTRICT, WITH APPROXIMATE POSITIONS 
OF MOUNTED BRIGADES AT 11 A.M., AUGUST 4, 1916. 



THE SINAI DESERT 67 

Second and Third Australian Light Horse Brigades) was to 
attack the enemy's left flank and prevent him from advancing 
south of Mount Meredith, and to make him detach such a large 
force that his main body would be materially weakened. This 
Division early in the day (August 4th) occupied approximately 
the line Bir Abu Diyuk, Hod Shohat, Hod El Enna, Bir Abu Rami. 
The Mounted Brigades occupied this line in the order detailed 
above. The right wing of this Division was eventually intended 
to sweep round left-handed and take the Turks in the rear. In 
addition to these dispositions, reserves of the above-mentioned 
Infantry Divisions were at Pelusium, Hills 70 and 40, and Kantara. 
Medical arrangements — for August 4th. New Zealand Mounted 
Field Ambulance near Bir Abu Diyuk. First and Second Austra- 
lian Light Horse Field Ambulances at Romani. Lowland Field 
Ambulance at Romani Railhead, and another at Bir Et Marler. 
East Lanes Field Ambulance, one at Pelusium (special arrange- 
ments for wounded Turks) and one at Mahamdiya. 

It may be of interest here to give some " Intelligence " 
notes received at a later date : 

Composition of the Enemy Force which attempted to reach the 
Suez Canal, July-August 1916. 

The Turkish Force which was destined for an attack on the 
Canal by the North Road was collected at Bir Saba, Shellal and 
Sheria during June. It seems from captured dociunents that the 
attack would have been made in October, when about 40,000 
men would have been available, but the views of General Kress 
Von Kressenstein prevailed, and the expedition was launched 
in June. 

Infantry. 

8rd Infantry Division — Rifaat Bey : 
31st Regiment — Ismael Hakki Bey. 
32nd Regiment — Hassan Basri Bey. 
39th Regiment — Kiamil Bey. 
(Approximate number, 12,000.) 
Each regiment contained four battalions of 1,000 men each 
27th Infantry Division ; 

81st Regiment — Haddi Bey. 
(About 4,000 strong.) 

Mounted Troops. 

2 Companies Syrian Dromedary Corps— 400, and some 
horsemen. 



68 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Artillery. 

1 Battery 4 20-cm. Howitzers (Austrian), oxen. 
1 Battery 4 15-cm. Howitzers (German), oxen. 
1 Battery 4 10-cm. Guns (German), horses, 450. 
1 Battery 8 10-cm. Howitzers (Austrian), oxen, 200. 
3 Batteries 4 " 75 " Mountain Guns (Turkish). 
5 Anti-aircraft Guns (German), oxen, 150. 

Engineers. 

3 Pioneer Companies, 600. 
1 Composite Battalion, 750. 

Medical. 

Attached Battalion Units, 1 Officer, 36 O.K., 500. 
Attached Division (1 Medical Company), 250. 
Attached to Force (1 Base Hospital), 250. 

Machine Gun Companies. 

8 German Companies, Nos. 601-608, 800. 

Aircraft. 

Aviatik, Albatros, Fokker, 12. 

Arab Irregulars commanded by Sami Bey. 
Number uncertain. 

Progress of Force. 

German Machine Gun Companies arrived at El Arish 

July 15th. 
3rd Division arrived at Bir Saba July 15th. 

Infantry Marches. 

Djemain-Sheikh Zowaid, 24 hours. 
-El Arish, 24 hours. 
-El Mazar, 48 hours. 
-Bir El Abd, 48 hours. 
-Katia, 48 hours. 

Grouping of Force before Attack. 

Group 1 at Hod El Rabah ; Commanders, Rifaat Bey and 

Graf Zu Rentzau. 
Group 2 at Bir El Mamluk ; Commander, Major Von Istonk. 
Group 3 at Abu Thila ; Commander, Kaiamel Bey. 
Group 4 at Hod El Masia ; Commanders, Colonel Von Shonsky. 

and Major Bolmann Bey. 



THE SINAI DESERT 69 

The following particulars were obtained from prisoners on 
August 3rd : 

Medical Services, 

Each Battalion has 1 M.O. (Captain), 4 corporals, 32 men 
and 8 stretchers. Each Machine Gun Company has 
1 M.O. (Lieutenant). 

Divisional Services. 

1 Medical Company; O.C. is a combatant officer (Captain). 

There are 3 doctors, 1 Major and 2 Captains, one of whom 
is a surgeon. 

There is 1 chemist (Lieutenant), 54 orderlies, 198 stretcher- 
bearers, 70 camels, 140 cacolcts, and 30 supply camels. 

Expeditionary Force Hospital. 

1 Major, 2 Captains, 1 chemist, 4 large Baiunann marquees 
and 200 beds. 

System of Evacuation. 

A Medical Company sends forward camels with cacolcts 
to collect serious cases from Battalion Dressing Station ; 
all light cases walk. 
The Expeditionary Hospital and Divisions had apparently 
one Field Kitchen each, with a personnel of 22 men, 
of whom 2 were cooks. 



August Mh. 

I arranged with the M.O. of the Warwick Yeomanry 
that we should get all our casualties to the Headquarters 
of the Composite Regiment on Shohat Hill. Considering 
the nature of the fighting, casualties were not heavy. 
By 3 p.m. our Mounted Brigades had forced the enemy 
over the first ridge on which we had found the Turks 
on arrival. We now occupied this ridge and were firing 
on the Turks in the valley beyond. About this time 
we suffered rather severely from the enemy's shrapnel. 
Our Second-in-Command had a very narrow escape 
near Hod Es Seifaniya : an unexploded shell dropped a 
few feet in front of him, took the sand from under his 
feet, and sent him flying head over heels in the soft sand. 
On returning to my dressing station I met the Brigadier, 
who told me to send a reliable man to look for our Brigade 



70 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

camel convoy ; the latter was on its way from Pelusium 
to Hod Negeiret Ali, and I was told to get it diverted 
to Shohat. My messenger never found the convoy, as 
owing to an aeroplane swooping down and peppering it 
with a machine gun it had to alter its course. Later 
in the evening, however, we spotted it with our glasses 
and had it brought in to a valley behind us. Our Brigade 
was now over the first ridge and in the valley beyond, 
and was gradually forcing the enemy over the second 
ridge (the part opposite the Worcesters being called 
Mount Royston) down into Hod Abu Adi. Suddenly 
white flags and white sand-bags were held up, and a stream 
of prisoners began to come in with their hands up. Mean- 
while the Light Horse Brigade on the right of the Warwicks 
wheeled round left-handed and swept the enemy in. While 
these prisoners were coming in, German machine gun 
detachments to the east, which had not surrendered, 
fired on them unmercifully. Our regiment had previously 
captured a battery of mountain guns by first shooting 
the camels and thus preventing their escape. While 
the prisoners were being taken over, I returned to my 
dressing station to make some arrangements about 
evacuating the wounded, when suddenly an aeroplane 
dropped a smoke-ball immediately above us, and a few 
seconds afterwards we found ourselves being heavily 
shelled. I shouted to the men who were holding the led 
horses to gallop away, and a second later a shell fell where 
they had been. The Brigade now came in. It was seven 
o'clock and dusk was coming on. We were fortunately 
able to bring all our dead back with us for future burial. 
On moving down into a little Hod, our camel transport 
supplied us with water from fanatis. The order was then 
given that the water out of water-bottles might be drunk ; 
this was much appreciated, as we had been fighting through- 
out that grilling August day and had had no water since 
5 a.m. In spite of these circumstances there had been 
very few cases of collapse. The wounded Turks were 
most grateful for the water and food, as they only had 
with them a few dates and a little dirty water. They 



THE SINAI DESERT 71 

looked so grateful when they found that we were not going 
to leave them out in the desert, and made no sound while 
we dressed their wounds. One great bearded fellow, 
badly shot through the thigh, had the grateful look of an 
injured dog in his expressive eyes as we lifted him on to 
a horse. Some of these men must have suffered greatly 
as they rode in with us that night ; we only had a few 
empty ammunition limbers, and our worst cases were 
conveyed in them. It transpired that the Brigade had 
taken some 500 prisoners, including several German 
officers and N.C.O.'s, and four guns. It seemed very 
horrible to think of the number of wounded and dying 
Turks who must have been left out. We did what we 
could, but had no organization to deal with the large 
numbers ; a Turkish Field Ambulance which had been 
captured was left to work on the field and an Australian 
unit from Romani did excellent work amongst the enemy. 
It was extraordinary how one's feelings changed after a 
battle — during the fight, while our men were getting hit, 
one felt delighted every time one saw a Turk drop ; but 
when it was all over and we had got all our wounded 
safely back, one thought of the number of wounded Turks 
who would probably never be found in this undulating 
country, condemned to die of thirst. A Turkish N.C.O., 
through an interpreter, told us that their German officers 
had promised them that they would reach the Suez 
Canal during the first days of Bairam (the month of 
Ramadan was just over), and that the English only had 
one Division in our section of the Canal. As a matter 
of fact, this would have been partly true a month ago, 
when the Fifty-second was the only complete Division, 
apart from numerous separate units. According to the 
Turkish time-table found in their " Orders of the Day," 
Romani railhead was to be seized at 8 a.m. on August 
1st. Many of the prisoners wore a ribbon which they 
said was that of the Gallipoli medal. At 8.30 p.m. we 
moved off in the dark, making for Pelusium via Canterbury 
Post. So ended the Turkish attack on Romani and the 
Suez Canal, for from henceforth the Turks were fighting 



72 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

rear-guard actions. Desultory shelling still went on on 
our right, but it gradually ceased towards midnight. On 
leaving, our Brigade handed over the positions which we 
had occupied to some regiments of the Forty-second 
Division which had detrained at midday at K 25. On 
passing through Canterbury Post our column threaded its 
way through numbers of resting infantry and eventually 
arrived at Pelusium. Here we found what seemed in 
the dark to be indescribable confusion — mounted troops 
coming in to water, infantry detraining and marching 
out, busy A.S.C. depots, camel convoys loading up, 
ammunition columns on the move, wounded arriving 
in sand-carts, and large columns of prisoners being marched 
in. After long delay our horses were watered (the first 
for eighteen hours) and our horse lines were put down. 
It was extraordinary how the horses could smell the water 
long before they reached it ; my horse got very excited 
before I had any idea that we were near water, and then 
made a rush for it. Our horses were now so used to 
camels that although the lines were only a few feet away 
from the camel camp they took no notice. Fires were 
lit, and we gathered round to drink our tea and eat some 
food ; we had seldom enjoyed a meal more, as we had 
been unable to eat a midday meal on account of the lack 
of water. It was a picturesque sight when the fires lit 
up the camp and the motley collection of Turkish 
prisoners, many of whom were supplied with tea from 
our dixies. There seemed to be representatives of many 
races amongst them, from the desert Arab and negro 
soldier to the fair-haired and blue-eyed European Turk. 
Infantry wearing the enverene hats, brown fezzes or skull- 
caps, dressed in dark-brown khaki and corduroy breeches 
(most unsuitable for this climate), gunners in astrakhan 
caps and blue uniforms, Arab irregulars in flowing gar- 
ments, transport drivers with red facings to their uniforms 
and yellow sashes, and German machine gunners in 
khaki drill and wearing yachting caps. I had charge 
of a Turkish medical officer ; after he had had some food 
and tea I told him (in French) that he would be taken 



THE SINAI DESERT 73 

over to one of the Field Ambulances, where he would spend 
the night. He had been captured on one of the little 
white Arab ponies which most of the Turkish officers 
had been riding ; he was immaculately dressed in lemon- 
coloured drill, with the snake of ^sculapius on his tunic 
and the red crescent on his arm, and wore a yellow silk 
turban and kid gloves ! He told me that his name was 
Jahat. On arrival at the Field Ambulance we found 
a very large number of Turkish wounded, some waiting 
and others being dressed in a large tent. Three R.A.M.C. 
officers were hard at work, assisted by Red Crescent 
orderlies. I brought Jahat in and announced that he 
was going to help them ; after explaining this to him 
he was very disgusted, but we compelled him to take 
off his coat and get to work amongst his own wounded. 
It was evident that he had previously concluded that 
his work was over after surrendering. Another Turkish 
medical officer told us that he had been in charge of 
the Field Hospital in Anafarta Village, which reminded 
us of our days at Suvla Bay. By midnight we had 
bivouacked for the night, with orders to move off at 
4.30 a.m. on the next day. 

The Second Battle of Katia. 
August 5th. 

By 3.30 a.m. we were up, and quickly watered, fed 
and breakfasted. Just before starting I was given two 
captured camels loaded with Turkish medical equipment ; 
unfortunately, there was not time to go through it and 
it had to be left behind. Our column marched to Bir 
Umm Ziyad (8), where we halted for half an hour. It 
was known that the enemy had retired eastwards through 
Katia, where a very strong force had been left to cover 
the retreat of the main army. It was now the duty 
of all the Mounted Brigades to " make good " the country 
west, north-west and south-west of Katia before an attack 
was launched on that place. For this purpose the western 
district was assigned to the Fifth Mounted Brigade. 



74 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

The latter now spread out, and, advancing cautiously, 
proceeded to scour the country in a south-easterly direction 
between Hod Shoat and Mount Royston, signal connection 
being maintained continuously with Katib Gannit, across 
yesterday's battle-field, through Hod El Enna and Bir 
Nikata to Bir Abu Rami. At the latter place we sighted 
the Imperial Camel Corps, which was carrying out a 
reconnaissance to the south ; a little later we met a lonely 
horse in very poor condition ; on examination he was 
found to have the Worcester brand and a Gloucester 
saddle. Evidently he had been captured three and a 
half months ago and had now come into his own again. 
It is probable that this horse had been carrying a Turkish 
officer who had been killed the day before. We now 
turned due north and eventually reached the 100-foot 
contour of Katib Gannit. Wellington Ridge, on which 
the Turks had actually gained a footing the day before, 
was now held by a Lowland regiment, while the 
higher part to the north, 100 to 240, was lined by a 
Manchester regiment. A few men went down with 
sunstroke about midday, and being near Romani they 
were removed to the First Australian Light Horse Field 
Ambulance. After half an hour's halt we proceeded 
due east towards Katia. Everywhere we came across 
Turkish equipment which had been thrown away during 
the retreat and large numbers of killed and wounded 
Turks. Many of the latter were lying under the little 
sun-shelters, which their comrades had presumably erected 
for them before retiring. It was a pleasing sight to see 
an Australian and a Turkish Field Ambulance working 
side by side amongst the wounded. As we advanced 
slowly, more cases of sunstroke developed, and these 
were sent into Bir Abu Hamra, where we had already 
collected some Turkish prisoners. Our line now consisted 
of the following units, taken in order from north to 
south : Warwickshire Yeomanry, Gloucester and Worcester 
Yeomanry, the New Zealand Mounted Brigade (who had 
advanced from Bir En Nuss) and two Australian Light 
Horse Brigades (who had moved up from Bir El Hamisah). 



THE SINAI DESERT 75 

The Somerset R.H.A. accompanied the New Zealanders ; 
the Ayrshire and Leicestershire R.H.A. batteries were 
probably somewhere to the south. At about two o'clock 
the enemy opened fire on us with shrapnel and H.E., 
and as we galloped forward we soon came under rifle 
fire. " Action dismount " was given, and the Brigade pro- 
ceeded to line a low ridge and to open fire on the enemy, 
who could now and then be seen in their trenches outside 
Katia. The ground, being uneven, afforded us a good 
deal of cover, as it abounded in small hummocks and 
ridges. After advancing to another position, Regimental 
H.Q. was established behind a little sandhill. Here 
I established my dressing station, and had just attended 
to some casualties when a shell exploded in the middle 
of our little group. I was thrown to the ground after 
being struck by a fragment of the shell, and realized at 
once that my leg was broken. I was carried back a short 
distance, and my orderlies dressed the wound and fixed 
up the leg with improvised splints. It was extraordinarily 
lucky that the fragment did not strike my leg " full on," 
otherwise the whole foot would certainly have disappeared. 
Meanwhile the enemy's big guns in Katia were very 
troublesome, and some Turkish infantry with machine guns 
and a field gun, who had moved out of Katia towards 
Abu Hamra, proceeded to enfilade us in a most uncomfort- 
able manner. Our " left " (Warwick Yeomanry) was 
in the air, except for a squadron of Glasgow Yeomanry 
who moved up late in the afternoon. A few prisoners 
were taken, but on the whole the enemy was very stubborn. 
We could not understand why the infantry had not been 
brought up for this frontal attack, as there was at least 
one Division behind us. We thought that if they had 
been in our position, and the Cavalry Division had deployed 
on either side of and in rear of Katia, the enemy's retreat 
would have been cut off and a large number of guns and 
prisoners would have been taken. I was not quite aware 
what happened during the next two hours, as the morphia 
which I had taken to allay the pain had begun to make 
me drowsy. At 5 p.m. the CO. told me that we should 



76 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

have to retire about a mile, as our position was becoming 
untenable on account of the concentrated enfilading fire 
from the north. As soon as some infantry supports 
came out we were to advance again. Meanwhile, I could 
not be left where I was, or I should have been captured 
by the enemy — an unpleasant predicament, especially in 
the state I was in. A couple of men put me on my horse, 
and with my sergeant supporting me on one side, we 
galloped back through the open, under a desultory fire 
from the north. My horse pecked once, and I was nearly 
off, but he recovered himself ; he had been touched in 
the hind-quarters by a bullet. After a painful ride of 
about half an hour we reached Brigade H.Q.,and I arranged 
with the M.O. of the Warwick Yeomanry to look after 
the wounded from the composite regiment. Together 
with my sergeant and six wounded men who could ride, 
we started back, passing on the way our Acting Staff 
Captain, who, together with his horse, had just been 
wounded. The Brigadier told us not to take the route 
through Abu Hamra, as the Turks were working round 
on that side. Accordingly, we set out for Katib Gannit, 
intending to ride round under its defences until we could 
reach Romani through a narrow defile which I knew of, 
close to Bir Er Romani, where we intended to water the 
horses. Although we were now out of rifle fire the Katia 
guns worried us with shrapnel and H.E., bursting all 
over the ground ; this was chiefly intended for the New 
Zealand H.Q., which had apparently been spotted. The 
desert here was still scattered with wounded and dead 
Turks, a grim reminder of yesterday's battle. It was 
very sad to see the wistful way they regarded us — I 
remember one man who was nursing his shattered leg, 
as he sat in a rifle-pit waiting to be picked up ; but we 
could do nothing : we were but a party of wounded men, 
some hardly able to keep in the saddle, riding tired horses 
through heavy sand. I knew they would be picked up 
eventually, but when ? Some had already been lying 
out twenty-four hours. 

About a mile from the foot of Gannit we met a party 



THE SINAI DESERT 77 

of Turks with rifles. We thought we were going to have an 
awkward moment ; however, they seemed to be in a dazed 
condition and took no notice of us. At the foot of Katib 
Gannit we came across the barbed-wire entanglements, 
trenches and redoubts, which extended from the foot 
of that mountain to Bir Er Romani. Here again were 
many corpses of Turks who had been killed on the previous 
day while attempting to cut our wire. After riding along 
outside the wire for about half an hour, we came to a 
redoubt where a Scottish officer let us through. The 
ground behind this fort was strewn with pieces of shell 
and unexploded shells. When we had watered we met 
several battalions of infantry (Forty-second Division) 
who were marching out to relieve the mounted troops ; 
also a procession of sand-carts, which I had got our 
Signalling Officer to helio for earlier in the afternoon. 
My sergeant went back with this convoy to show them 
where our wounded were. On riding up the steep defile 
we reached the Romani plateau, and avoiding the large 
holes made by the enemy's big guns, arrived at the First 
Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance. 

Some of us were hardly conscious what happened 
during the last part of the journey, and were eventually 
lifted off our horses by willing hands. I found myself 
in the same tent with two wounded friends from our 
Brigade. 

August 6th, 

On waking in the morning I found that one of my 
companions, though shot through the arm, had returned 
to the field. We were well looked after, our wounds were 
dressed, and we were supplied with excellent rations. 
On asking when we should be removed to railhead, we 
were told that the line was so congested with Turkish 
prisoners that it would be impossible to evacuate us at 
once. During the morning a Major from the Canterbury 
Regiment was brought into our tent, and he told us that 
the mounted troops and infantry had cleared Katia, 
and that the Turks were putting up another rear-guard 



78 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

action at Oghratina ; he had met some of our infantry 
in a fearful state through lack of water, with blackened 
lips and swollen tongues. After all, we mounted troops 
did not know what it was to march through heavy sand. 
In the afternoon there appeared to be still no chance of 
moving the wounded, and the various Field Ambulances 
became very full. The larger part of the personnel 
of the Australian Light Horse Field Ambulances went 
out again to collect more wounded, both ours and Turkish. 

August 7th. 

There was still no sign of our being moved to railhead, 
and as some of us were suffering considerable pain, our 
wounds were re-dressed. At midday we were visited by 
several friends from our regiment who were on their 
way up to the front line. We heard that cholera had broken 
out amongst the Turks and that some cases had occurred 
amongst our troops. It appeared that after a stiff resist- 
ance the Turks had evacuated Oghratina and were making 
for Bir El Abd. At the former place they had left 

a note saying that Lieut. , of the Australian Light 

Horse, was safe and a prisoner ; that he had dined with the 
officers of one of their batteries the night before, and that 
he was a gentleman. Another note said : " How did you 
like the six ladies from Katia ? '* This referred to their 
heavy guns, which they had succeeded in removing. During 
the pursuit a large amount of timber and felled palm-trees 
were found on the track ; the former had been brought 
on camels and was used in the transit of the guns over the 
sand. At 4 p.m. we were relieved to hear that we were 
to be moved at last. Two of us were placed in a sand- 
cart drawn by four mules and taken down to the Lowland 
Field Ambulance at railhead. This was the end of the 
desert railway, which was being rapidly pushed out across 
the Sinai Peninsula. The Field Ambulance was very 
congested, and there were many rows of us lying on 
stretchers, together with numerous wounded Turks. At 
5.30 we were taken out of the tents and placed in the 
train. This " hospital train " consisted of one engine 



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(Based on The Times maj).) 



THE SINAI DESERT 79 

and a number of open trucks, the latter containing nothing 
— not even straw. As a matter of fact, we were lucky to be 
even in trucks, as, had the railway not been built so far 
at this period, we should have travelled most of the way 
to Kantara probably on camels. The stretcher cases 
were placed on the floor of these trucks, while the walking 
cases sat on the sides. When we started off there was 
the usual " bump, bump, bump " which one hears from a 
goods train, and pitiful groans escaped from the badly 
wounded and fracture cases. A trooper in a New Zealand 
regiment who lay next to me, and had been shot through 
the spine, kept up a pitiful wail until he was finally 
exhausted ; he was just alive when eventually taken out, 
but could not have survived long. After we had been 
going for a time the noise of the train overcame the 
groans of the sufferers. On reaching Pelusium our engine 
broke down and the train waited for a considerable time ; 
then the shrieks and groans of the wounded broke the 
stillness of the quiet night. But worse was to come : 
we had to be shunted in order to let a supply train pass 
through. It seemed a cruel thing to shunt a train full 
of wounded in open trucks, but it had to be done. 
Every bump in our springless truck was extremely 
painful. At midnight we arrived at Kantara, and after 
being unloaded were transferred by motor-ambulances 
along the newly made road to the 26th Casualty 
Clearing Station. Here we were laid out in rows and 
waited our turn to be examined. The M.O.'s and 
orderlies at this Casualty Clearing Station had been 
working for forty-eight hours continuously and were 
absolutely worn out, but in spite of this the tired men 
handled us most carefully. Each of us was then 
examined and dressed again. I was labelled Cairo 
instead of Port Said, as that hospital had been already 
filled on the first day. Eight of us were then removed to 
a tent, and our stretchers were placed on trestles instead 
of on the ground ; this appeared to be the great difference 
between a Field Ambulance and a Casualty Clearing 
Station. Opposite me was a Captain of the New Zealand 



80 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Medical Corps, who had been brought in the day before, 
but was in such a critical state that he could not be 
moved: machine-gun fire had removed a large part of 
his femur and the greater part of his thigh. It was a 
bad night, and one could not forget the horrors of that 
train journey. 

August 8th, 

During the morning we were visited by several friends 
from Kantara, and heard that there had been more cases 
of cholera, and that the Turks had left a note in one of the 
Hods through which our force had passed, saying " Beware 
of cholera." Some dead Turks were found in the same 
place who had died of the disease. The Turk was indeed 
a gentleman; not many enemies would have given this 
warning. At 2.30 we were taken in motor-ambulances 
to Kantara West station, where we were transferred to a 
Red Crescent train. The latter was perfect luxury after 
what we had gone through. Before midnight our train 
arrived at Cairo and we were distributed amongst the 
various hospitals. 

October Slst. 

Together with a friend who had also been discharged 
from hospital, I arrived at our Brigade Base Details 
Camp at Kantara. We found that the latter place had 
grown enormously during our three months in hospital, 
and that a railway ferry and large railway station had 
been erected. 

November 2nd. 

We left Kantara in the early morning and proceeded 
by train along the new railway to Bir El Abd, which 
was at that time railhead. A 12-mile ride across the 
desert on a compass bearing, there being practically no 
landmarks, brought us to Hod Bayud. The country was 
here more hilly and was on the edge of the waterless 
district. Half-way to our destination we halted at Hod 
El Gamel, where we found a squadron of the Warwick- 



THE SINAI DESERT 81 

shire Yeomanry. On reaching our camp we found a 
number of new officers who had come up as reinforcements. 
The men were living in bivouac, chiefly in huts made of 
palm-trees, as no tents were allowed on account of the 
enemy aeroplanes. The 7th Battalion of the Imperial 
Camel Corps were camped 1 mile to the east. Our 
camp was situate on a hill above the little oasis called 
the Hod Bayud. The hill was so steep in places that 
one could actually slide down some 200 feet on the loose 
sand to the watering-place below. Owing to the shifting 
configuration of the sandhills, some of the tallest palm- 
trees, which had originally been on the edge of the Hod, 
were now embedded in sand and only the topmost branches 
were showing. The water was brackish, but not suffi- 
ciently so to prevent horses drinking it. Close by lay 
the remains of a rear-guard force belonging to the 
Turkish left flank, which had been harried by our aero- 
planes and mounted troops in the recent August fighting. 
The landscape was grand and austere ; the enormous 
vista of endless desert, here and there interrupted by 
gigantic sand mountains — fashioned into fantastic shapes 
according to the caprices of the wind — and by occasional 
palm-studded Hods nestling in tiny valleys, was most 
impressive. In this clear atmosphere the visibility was 
wonderful. Perfect silence reigned, and there appeared 
to be no sign of life except an occasional vulture hovering 
over the old Turkish battle-field or a jackal slinking 
homewards to his lair. At sunset the sky assumed most 
marvellous colours, which it is useless to try to describe. 
Then followed the deathly stillness of the desert night, 
broken occasionally by the hideous shrieking of the 
jackals as they quarrelled over their prey. 

November Srd, 

The dawn found us " standing to " with all eyes 
turned to the east as the sun rose behind the forbidding 
Maghara hills, which were held by the Turks. Our duty 
at this post was to watch this flank, lest the followers of 
the Prophet should swoop down and cut our main com- 



82 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

munications — we depended entirely on camel transport 
for rations and drinking water, which were conveyed 
to us daily over 12 miles of desert from railhead at Bir 
El Abd. 

November Uh, 

During the day we arranged a new camp for our " A " 
Squadron, which was coming in to join us from Mageibra. 
Fritz came over in the afternoon, and a few minutes 
later we watched him through our glasses bombing rail- 
head. Our patrols rode out to Mount Ruisat and thence 
to Zagadan, about 15 miles away, daily ; this procedure 
was adopted in order to watch the Turks who held 
the Maghara hills. It was hard work for the horses, as 
the distance covered in heavy sand was altogether about 
30 miles. 

November 6th, 

During the day an Australian Wireless Section arrived, 
and erected their station just above our camp. 

November 7th, 

At dawn two of us rode out and visited the Yeomanry 
and Australian squadrons who were encamped at Hod 
Gamel, Hod El Wilegha, Hod El Salmana, Hod Ce Eilia, 
and returned to Bayud at sunset. At this period the 
Warwickshire Yeomanry were at Hassanya and Mageibra. 
The Gloucestershire Yeomanry were at Narbit and Gamel, 
and the 7th Imperial Camel Corps were camped at Wor- 
cester Hill, just outside Bayud. 

November 8th, 

In the evening our patrols returned from the Maghara 
foothills via Ruisat (where water had previously been 
buried), and brought with them one Bedouin prisoner 
and two goats. The former, although an old man, kept 
up with the horses on foot the whole of the 15 miles, and 
when he arrived in camp drank one whole canvas bucket 
of water ; he appeared to be disgusted with the Woodbine 



THE SINAI DESERT 88 

cigarettes which were offered him, and proceeded to make 
his own out of some priceless Turkish tobacco. 

At night we received a message that a hostile camel 
patrol was passing between us and Hod El Wilegha, and 
soon afterwards one of the patrol was shot, the rest of 
the enemy escaping in the dark. 

November 9th, 

During the morning several " aviatiks " bombed rail- 
head, a proceeding which we watched through our glasses. 

November 11th, 

About ten o'clock in the morning two Staff officers 
rode over to investigate our wells. One of them asked 
our CO. whether we had suffered from hostile aircraft; 
the latter replied that as we were such a long way from 
railhead and so inconspicuous we had probably not 
attracted Fritz's attention. At that moment, however, 
Fritz appeared and proceeded to drop five bombs in our 
lines. Luckily, no damage was done, but our monkey 
had a very narrow escape, as a bomb fell within two yards 
of the perch on which she lived. The bombs were evi- 
dently of German manufacture, as the instructions, which 
were found on the fragments, were printed in that language. 
Our CO., on looking round to continue his conversation 
with the Staff officers, found that they had entirely dis- 
appeared. They had evidently jumped on to their horses 
directly Fritz appeared, and had adopted the wise pro- 
cedure of galloping into the " blue." 

November 12th. 

A warning was received during the day that a spy, 
in the uniform of an Australian officer, riding a grey 
horse, had been seen in our neighbourhood. It was 
evidently very easy for a spy to patrol the country between 
our scattered posts ; and it would be easy for him to 
visit a yeomanry squadron, dressed as an Australian, 
without attracting much attention. 



84 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

November 16th, 

In company with the Second-in-Command I rode over 
to Hod El Muhammam, where we saw evidence of the 
fighting between the Imperial Camel Corps and the 
retiring Turkish left flank which had taken place August 
7th-10th last. Most of the trees in the Hod had had 
their tops knocked off by the Turkish shells, and enemy 
ammunition-boxes, equipment and shell -cases were 
scattered far and wide. In this Hod we noticed an inter- 
esting old Bedouin graveyard, with aloes plants at the 
head and foot of each grave. Here there had evidently 
been a permanent Bedouin encampment. The date palms 
were heavy with their golden fruit, and fig-trees and 
pomegranate-trees also flourished round the native wells. 
Outside the Hod, towards the north, we found the graves 
of some Pembroke and Shropshire yeomen who had been 
attached to the Imperial Camel Corps. We rode through 
Hod El Balein, Hod El Dhaheihal, Hod Abu Dhahao 
to Hod El Hassaniya, where we found our Brigade Head- 
quarters established. A letter had been picked up in 
the desert, written in French, from Djemal Pasha to 
Kress Von Kressenstein in a sarcastic vein, and com- 
plaining of the failure of the August expedition, and 
asking how many guns, etc.. Von Kress had lost. This 
was interesting, in view of the fact that Djemal Pasha 
had proposed that the expedition should take place in 
October, when 40,000 men would have been available 
(see Turkish " Intelligence " received in August), and that 
the views of Von Kress had prevailed, i.e. to launch the 
attack with a much smaller force in August. 

November 20th. 

We ascertained that a pariah dog visited the camp 
nightly from the Maghara direction, and the CO. con- 
sidered that this might possibly be a means of communi- 
cation between our native camel-drivers and the enemy. 
Accordingly, it was decided that we should try to poison 
it with some meat, in order to procure any letter it might 
be carrying. 



THE SINAI DESERT 85 

November 21st, 

During the morning two of us tracked a pariah dog 
for some 6 miles towards the Maghara hills and then 
gave up the quest. It was probable that these dogs 
merely came to feed on the old Turkish battle-field and 
returned to Maghara in the early morning. Eventually 
we found our poisoned dog, but he was carrying no informa- 
tion. We discovered later that both pariah dogs and 
jackals will travel an enormous distance over the desert, 
as, when the wind is in the right direction, they can scent 
their prey very many miles away. 

November 22nd. 

During the next few days our patrols made daily 
excursions to Mount Ruisat and Zagadan, usually return- 
ing with a few hostile Bedouin, whom the Turks used as 
scouts. 

November 2Uh. 

Orders were received for the Brigade to march to Hill 
70 in order to go into reserve. 

November 25th. 

At midday our regiment was relieved by the 6th 
Australian Light Horse ; each of our outposts on the 
outlying hills was separately relieved by detachments 
from the Australian regiment before we were able to 
move off. The camel transport had previously been 
dispatched to Khirba, and the regiment marched out at 
1 p.m. At Hassanya we found that the Australian 
Brigade Headquarters had moved in and taken the place 
lately occupied by our own Brigade Headquarters. We 
watered at the Hod, and rode out to Khirba through Hod 
Abu Hattat and Hod Saht, passing on the way numerous 
infantry outposts belonging to the Forty-second Division. 
Khirba was reached at sunset, and the water was found 
to be so salt that the horses would scarcely drink 
at all. 



86 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

November 26th. 

We marched at an early hour to Bir En Romani, passing 
through Oghratina, Reshafat and Er Rabah. At Oghra- 
tina we saw the large wooden cross which had recently 
been erected on the hill in memory of those who had 
fallen in the April fighting. At Romani we bivouacked 
near the old salt lake, together with Sikh Pioneers and a 
West Indian regiment. 

November 27th. 

The Worcesters and Warwicks marched to Hill 70, and 
the Gloucester Yeomanry received orders to proceed to 
Dueidar. We passed north of Abu Diyuk and watered 
midday at Pelusium, where a strong camel battalion 
passed us on their way up to the front. On entering the 
camp of Hill 70 we met the One Hundred and Sixty-sixth 
Infantry Brigade, who had bivouacked just outside. 

November 28th. 

The regiment was inspected by the G.O.C. East Force, 
this Force having been recently constituted. 

November 30th. 

It was evident that the men, and particularly the horses, 
would benefit by their rest while in reserve, as the Brigade 
had been constantly in the front line since August 1, 
1916. During the morning some of us rode over to 
Dueidar, where we found the Gloucester Yeomanry and 
the 5th Battalion of the West India Regiment encamped. 
The last time we had been in this spot was under very 
different conditions, a few minutes before going into 
action on the first day of the battle of Romani. 



December 5th. 

After spending a few days' leave in the Canal Zone, two 
of us returned to Hill 70 ; here we came across the first 
hospital train that we had ever seen in the Sinai Renin- 



THE SINAI DESERT 87 

sula. Intelligence reports stated that El Arish had been 
strongly reinforced. 

Our Brigade received orders to march in a few days' 
time in order to take part in the advance on El Arish. 
So, after all, our men and horses had very little rest. 

December 9th. 

The Brigade moved out at 8 a.m., watered at Pelusium, 
and bivouacked at Romani. 

December 10th. 

On the move again at dawn ; this time our march took 
us to Hod El Khirba. We heard that the Turks were 
strongly entrenched before Fort Massaid, 3 miles to the 
west of El Arish, and that our patrols had been in touch 
at Bir Lahfan (8 miles south of El Arish), cutting off the 
Turkish communications with Maghara. 

December 11th. 

The Brigade marched to Bir El Abd, crossing the August 
battle-field on the way. We now belonged to a force 
which was known as Desert Column. 

December 12th. 

We received an account from our liaison officer, who 
was with the Australian Light Horse, of the movements 
of the Turks between Mazaar, Massaid, and Lahfan ; 
it appeared to be doubtful whether the Turks would make 
a stand at these places or retire on El Arish. 

December ISth. 

R.M.O.'s received new instructions with regard to 
sterilizing and mapping new wells in the country occupied 
by units during the intended advance. Each squadron 
was for this purpose to have its water-duty man specially 
trained in the procedure. 

R.M.O.'s were made responsible for the wells in the 
wake of their units, and were instructed to furnish their 



88 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

CO. at the end of each day with a list of the wells treated, 
stating their exact location on the map. These lists were 
to keep Divisional Headquarters informed of the efficiency 
with which this duty was being carried out, and also to 
show which areas had escaped treatment. The Divisional 
C.R.E. would then make arrangements for the disin- 
fection of any well which had been missed. 

The regimental personnel consisted of one trained man 
per squadron. Each man would be allotted a strip of 
area covered by his advancing unit and would maintain 
touch with the men on either side of him. He would 
note the positions of all wells treated, and the time at 
which each one was treated, and at the end of the day's 
march he would hand the day's list to the R.M.O. of 
his unit. 

During the next few days, while in bivouac at Abd, 
the water-duty men were thoroughly instructed in the 
disinfection of wells and were given the necessary 
equipment. 

December lUh. 

During the morning two of us rode out to the Sabkhet 
El Bardawil, a large partially dry salt lake, north of 
Abd and separated from the sea by a narrow strip of land ; 
the " going " was somewhat treacherous, and the larger 
part of the lake was encrusted with firm white salt, in 
places a foot thick, and occasionally intersected by 
stretches of blue water ; here and there the effect of an 
H.E. shell had tinged the " salt ice " a brilliant yellow. 
We returned through the Hod Hisha, where we found 
the remains of many dead horses and also some large 
shells, probably the result of gun fire from our monitors. 

December 15th, 

The regiment practised an attack from Hod Zaganiya 
on Hod Amara ; here we found more evidence of the late 
Battle of Abd. In the evening we heard a rumour that 
Germany was suing for peace ! 



THE SINAI DESERT 89 

December 16th, 

The Brigade marched from Bir El Abd to Hod Salmana, 
and we noticed much activity on the newly made line. 

December 17th, 

We marched from Hod Salmana via Bir Moseifig to 
Abu Tillul. The track lay partly along the edge of a 
salt lake and was marked by the carcasses of many oxen, 
horses and camels, which had been left by the Turks in 
their retreat. 

December 18th, 

The regiment marched to Bir El Mazar (the Turkish 
advance base in August) due east via Sabkhet El 
Mustabig. At the latter place we passed one of our large 
aerodromes, recently erected on the bed of the dried-up 
lake, the surface of which was as flat as a billiard -table 
and firm enough to permit the transit of motor-lorries ; 
the latter were the first we had seen used in the Sinai 
Peninsula. As we entered the camp at Mazar an " aviatik " 
dropped some bombs and was fired at by the anti-aircraft 
batteries ; our Brigade, however, sustained no casualties. 
We watered at the Bir, passing on the way the tomb of 
Abu Gilban. Our whole Brigade bivouacked on a hill 
surrounded by Turkish trenches, just outside the main 
camp. We were now only 26 miles from El Arish. To 
the south we had a good view of the north-eastern end 
of the Maghara hills (which we used to see from Bayud), 
with Geb El Lagama and Mount Barga, both occupied 
by the Turks, in the foreground. Close by us was 
encamped a battery of our heavy (6-inch) guns, each of 
the latter being drawn by twenty-four fine Shire cart- 
horses, ridden four abreast by twelve drivers. 

December 19th. 

At 7 a.m. two " aviatiks " came over and bombed the 
camp severely. Several men were killed and wounded 
at the Ordnance Depot, ammunition dump and railway 



90 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

sidings. Our regiment was lucky, the nearest casualties 
being four camel-drivers, who were killed about 400 yards 
away. The " aviatiks " took little notice of our anti- 
aircraft guns and calmly circled round the camp until 
they had dropped all their bombs. While they were 
flying immediately over the anti-aircraft guns the latter 
were unable to fire, and it was said that two of the 
gunners were killed. Fritz apparently always came up 
from the east with the sun behind him in the early 
morning, so that he could only be spotted with consider- 
able difficulty. 

December 20th, 

At 11,30 a.m. we marched to Maadan, riding most of 
the way across another firm Sabkhet. This firm going 
was a great relief for our horses after the heavy sand 
of the Sinai Peninsula, which they had been traversing 
for almost a year. At Maadan we bivouacked with 
part of the Fifty-second and Forty-second Divisions in 
a sandy valley, which was studded with Jerusalem arti- 
chokes; the latter Division had just received orders to 
return to railhead and entrain for France. 

December 21st. 

It was uncertain whether the oasis of Bittia was still 
occupied by the Turks, and at 2 a.m. the Brigade com- 
menced an advance on that place. We passed the 
infantry outposts and proceeded carefully along the old 
caravan route ; it was bitterly cold, but the track was a 
good one. On reaching Bittia our scouts reported that 
it was unoccupied. The Turks had left twenty-five wells, 
but as dead animals had been thrown into most of them 
they were not fit for drinking purposes, although some of 
them were good enough for watering our horses. From 
our bivouac we had a good view of El Arish and also of 
the Mediterranean 1| miles to the north. Helio com- 
munication was obtained with 1st Australian Light Horse, 
who had just entered El Arish, and we learnt that the 
Turks had evacuated that town and also Fort Maidan. 



THE SINAI DESERT 91 

During the day our patrols brought in a few prisoners, 
and we were joined by the Leicestershire and the Inver- 
ness-shire R.H.A. batteries. At 2 p.m. Fritz paid his 
usual visit, but without doing much damage. One of our 
aeroplanes dropped a message saying that Bir Lahfan 
and 8 miles beyond El Arish were also clear. We were 
now only 4 miles from that town, and orders were 
received to develop and treat all water supplies in the 
Bittia district for the rest of Desert Column, who were 
following on ; this duty devolved on us, as we were the 
first regiment to enter Bittia after the Turks had left. 
Assisted by our R.E. troop, we cleaned out some of the old 
wells, but on testing, the water was found to be so highly 
polluted that all the wells had to be condemned, and our 
engineers supplied us with water from a couple of spear 
points. 

December 22nd. 

After a very cold night we had a delightful bathe in 
the blue Mediterranean ; the climate at this time of 
year was delightful during the daytime. We met the 
armoured cars proceeding along the beach to El Arish 
and saw a gunboat, which we later heard firing further 
up the coast. During the afternoon railhead was bombed, 
and the Fifty-second Division joined us, their advance 
Brigade having already reached El Arish. We were very 
short of food, as our camel convoys from railhead failed 
to arrive for two days in succession, and were therefore 
reduced to a few biscuits and what little provisions we 
carried with us. 

December 2Srd. 

At 9 a.m. a few of us obtained permission to visit El 
Arish. We passed through the recently evacuated Turk- 
ish defences at Ujret El Sol, passing south of Fort Massaid, 
and entered the town 1 mile to the north of the landing- 
place. We were warned not to touch any ropes lying 
about near the shore, as land mines were in some cases 
attached — ^two men were killed in this way. The town 



92 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

was full of people, but all the troops, including irregulars, 
had left. We watered our horses at a picturesque old 
stone well, sixty feet deep, the natives letting down little 
boys who filled the buckets at the bottom. A landing 
stage had been constructed, and lighters from Port Said 
were already landing stores. The inhabitants seemed 
quite friendly, but very curious and anxious to be photo- 
graphed. Amongst the various types which we observed 
the tall red-haired and blue-eyed natives seemed to 
predominate ; these were said to be the descendants of 
the ancient Philistines. We rode through the chief 
streets of the town, which had suffered considerably from 
our aeroplane and naval bombardments during July- 
October 1916, and saw the two large mosques. The shops 
were open, but the Turks had seen to it that little was left 
behind. The One Hundred and Fifty-sixth Brigade of 
the Fifty-second Division were encamped just outside. 
We heard firing to the east, and ascertained that the 
Anzac Mounted Division were engaged about 8 miles 
away. The inhabitants of the town were very scared 
whenever our aeroplanes flew over, as they had suffered 
so severely during the last few months. To the north 
of the town we saw the fine green cultivation on the banks 
of the Wadi El Arish ; the latter, which in summer is 
merely a dry watercourse, was now in flood and appeared 
to be a river of some importance. While in the town I 
picked up a German newspaper, dated August 5th, which 
described the Turkish advance on the Suez Canal and 
prophesied that the latter would be an unqualified success. 
This was interesting, in view of the fact that the very day 
on which the paper was printed in Berlin the Turks were 
receiving the final beating which caused them to commence 
their retreat through Sinai and Palestine. At this period 
the Warwickshire Yeomanry were at K 181 (railhead), 
performing convoy duties to El Arish, the Gloucesters 
were at Malha, while we remained guarding the right 
flank just outside El Arish. Although we were now 10 
miles ahead of railhead, the latter would reach us in a 
week. It was extraordinary the pace that this railhead 



THE SINAI DESERT 93 

moved, provided it was not held up by actual hostilities. 
First came a troop of yeomanry doing advance guard, 
then the surveyors of the line, often themselves under 
fire, then some thousands of Egyptian natives belonging 
to the Labour Corps, who either built up an embankment 
or else dug a cutting, and finally the construction train 
itself. The natives performed their work almost entirely 
by using little spades and fig-baskets, the sand being 
scooped into the latter and removed as quickly as 
possible. 

December 2Uh, 

We heard in the morning that the Anzac Mounted 
Division had, after some strenuous fighting at Magdaba, 
taken 1,200 prisoners ; some " aviatiks " by way of retalia- 
tion bombing the landing-stage at El Arish and the troops 
in its vicinity. 

December 25th, 

A perfect Christmas Day, though not in a European 
sense — brilliant sunshine and beautifully warm. A foot- 
ball match was played in the afternoon, and a concert 
was held around the big camp fire at night. 

December 27th, 

Two of us took some camels out in the morning to 
collect loot from the old Turkish camp. We were very 
hard up for firewood, and the Turkish water-barrels were 
very useful. We rode through the Turkish fortifications, 
which extended from Fort Massaid on the sea down to Bir 
Masmi. 

The Maghara hills were now reported clear, and the 
Turks were said to be in retreat from Kossaima across 
the Turko-Egyptian frontier. At three o'clock a regiment 
from the Anzac Division marched their Turkish prisoners 
along the seashore towards railhead ; they were a motley- 
looking crew, mostly Syrians and Arabs ; many were 
dressed in quaint canary-coloured uniforms, which com- 
bined with light blue trousers looked somewhat theatrical. 



94 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

It seemed strange that they should be marched through 
El Arish again as prisoners, when they had garrisoned 
that town for the last two years. One of our aeroplanes 
was washed up on the beach, but there was no sign of 
the pilot. The pariah dogs were rather troublesome at 
night, as unless food was carefully hidden they often used 
to steal it ; this was due to the fact that we were just 
outside a town, where the dogs were not afraid of human 
beings. 

December 28th, 

On waking up in the morning we were astonished to 
see that railhead had reached us, and 300 yards away 
a large embankment had appeared, which was covered 
with Egyptian Labour Corps, swarming like ants all 
over it. During the next few days we had heavy rain, 
the only rain which falls in this district during the 
whole year. 

December 29th, 

The wet weather was very depressing, and was accen- 
tuated by the fact that owing to submarines no Christ- 
mas parcels had arrived. 

1917. 

January 1st, 

In the morning I rode out with the CO. by the coast 
route via El Daheisha and Bir Massaid to the new landing- 
stage which had been constructed on the beach north of 
El Arish. Here was a big supply depot, and two steamers 
from Port Said were landing stores. After passing the 
tomb of Nebi Yesir we crossed the Wadi ^ El Arish, which 
at this time of the year was a considerable river. It 
was fringed on either side by mighty palm-trees and 
native cultivation. This green cultivation was a great 
relief to one's eyes after the sandy desert, occasionally 
dotted with scrub, of the Sinai Peninsula. A few minutes 
later we heard machine-gun fire and saw an "aviatik" 
' Wadi=Sk watercourse, generally dry in summer. 



THE SINAI DESERT 95 

immediately overhead ; it proceeded to drop a number 
of bombs on the unfortunate troops at the supply depot, 
and then returned safely to its own lines. On arriving 
at Fort Um Khoziga another " aviatik " appeared overhead 
and dropped several bombs very close to us, so we 
cantered on to the little village of El Risa, proceeding the 
whole way along the seashore. On arriving at the hill 
called El Mabwala we found Headquarters of the First 
Australian Light Horse Brigade, and also our Second- 
in- Command, who had been acting as liaison officer with 
that Brigade ; he gave us an interesting account of the 
Battle of Magdaba, where the Anzacs had defeated some 
4,000 Turks, and of their reconnaissance in the vicinity 
of Rafa. Riding back through the town we saw the 
Governor's house, until recently occupied by General 
Kress Von Kressenstein, now the Headquarters of the 
G.O.C. Desert Column. We rode from the town to Bittia 
by the inland caravan route and found the sand very 
heavy going. During the afternoon a most distressing 
sand-storm commenced, which lasted for twenty-four 
hours. 

January 2nd. 

In the morning we were joined by the Gloucester 
Yeomanry, our Field Ambulance, the Third Brigade 
Australian Light Horse, and a battalion of Highland 
Light Infantry. A tremendous gale got up during the 
night. 

January Uh, 

At midday our whole Brigade moved out of Bittia in 
heavy rain and proceeded by the inland route to El Arish. 
Passing south of the town, we crossed the Wadi, which 
was in flood after the recent rain and which could only 
be traversed in certain places. On the further bank we 
bivouacked in the fig groves at Nekhl Abu Sagal. 

January 5th, 

At a meeting of M.O.'s at our Field Ambulance, we 
were told about the proposed cavalry raid on Rafa, and 



96 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the approximate dispositions of the regiments of our 
Brigade on " Z " day. It appeared that the general idea 
was that Desert Column should proceed to Sheikh 
Zowaid (20 miles), arriving before midnight, and attack 
the enemy's force at Rafa (30 miles) at dawn, and if 
successful return with the prisoners to El Arish the same 
night. It was evident that the operation had to be carried 
out expeditiously, before large enemy reinforcements from 
Beersheba and Shellal could arrive. A deserter had 
stated that there was a strong force of Turks at Khan 
Yunus, about 8 miles beyond Rafa. 

January 6th, 

In this camp we were allowed a few tents, the first we 
had lived under for very many months ; up till now we had 
all been living in shelters made out of palm leaves and 
horse-blankets. At midday the scheme of attack which 
had been detailed to us on the previous day was altered 
and postponed. Our aeroplanes had taken new photo- 
graphs of Rafa, which showed very strong defences. 
The idea now, apparently, was that our Brigade should 
attack the El Magruntein trenches east of Rafa, while 
the Light Horse Brigade, together with the Camel Corps, 
attacked from the south and the south-east. In the 
afternoon Fritz appeared as usual and bombed railhead ; 
the former was now on the sea side of the town, close to 
the tomb of Nebi Yesir. 

January 7th, 

After a Brigade Church Service new maps were issued 
to us of the Turkish position. At 11.30 two "aviatiks" 
paid their usual visit and killed twenty -nine and wounded 
thirty natives working at railhead. Our own men always 
received orders to spread themselves out and lie down 
when being bombed ; by doing so we had remarkably few 
casualties. The Egyptian Labour Corps, however, when 
thoroughly frightened always collected into large groups, 
which were a very easy target for Fritz when he was 
flying low. Our anti-aircraft gims at this period of the 



THE SINAI DESERT 97 

Palestine campaign appeared to us to have very little effect 
on the Turkish and German aeroplanes. The Hong-Kong 
and Singapore Mountain Battery, which was attached to 
Desert Corps, was always very active on these occasions, 
and being a certain distance from our camp, generally 
dropped some shrapnel shell-cases into our lines. We 
heard, through an agent who obtained the information 
from the Turkish Intelligence, that the French had landed 
a force at Akaba. New orders were received for Desert 
Column to start at 4 p.m. on " Z " day for Sheikh Zowaid ; 
the plan of attack was now to be generally more south. 
The Fifth Mounted Brigade were to lead the attack on 
the east, headed by the Worcester Yeomanry, and " D " 
Squadron of that regiment was to make a cordon round 
the village of Sheikh Zowaid to prevent the population 
from giving information before the general attack on 
Rafa commenced. At 9.30 p.m. (full moon), just as we 
were turning in, we were startled by a big explosion 
just outside the tent, and rushed out to find the two 
*' aviatiks " back again and flying very low over our camp, 
bombing and spraying our lines with their machine guns. 
It was a bad night and, as usual, the " aviatiks " escaped 
unscathed. 

January 8th, 

During the morning the following orders were received 
from the medical authorities : 

At 3.30 p.m. Desert Mounted Column will proceed to Sheikh 
Zowaid, where the main Division Dressing Station will be estab- 
lished, to which lightly wounded will ride direct. Any casualties 
during the afternoon on the line of march will be left with one man 
and picked up by the following Field Ambulances. On the morn- 
ing of the 9th the Fifth Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance will 
arrive at the Magruntein-Darba fork roads at 5.30 a.m., and will 
proceed along the Rafa telegraph track. The tent subdivision 
will halt at the T in Sultanieh, and the bearer subdivision 
(with sand-carts and sledges) will report to the Worcester squadron 
at a given point on the Magruntein road at dawn. If successful, 
pursuit of the enemy will not be carried out beyond Khan Yunus, 
If there is a standing fight at the enemy's trenches, each R.M.O. 

7 



98 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

will keep his Field Ambulance informed of his position, and 
maintain constant communication with it when an advance occurs. 
From Field Ambulances camel cacolets will evacuate to the 
Divisional Dressing Station at Sheikh Zowaid, and thence wounded 
will be conveyed by sand-carts to El Arish. When the action is 
over, R.M.O.'s will let officers commanding Field Ambulances 
know at once when all wounded have been collected. R.M.O.'s 
are especially warned that the wounded must be collected as 
quickly as possible when night comes on, as there is a native 
hostile tribe in the neighbourhood which are known to have the 
reputation of mutilating their enemies. 

The following orders were received from the G.O.C. 
Fifth Mounted Brigade : 

1. The enemy are in an entrenched position between El Magrun- 
tein and Rafa. 

2. The Desert Mounted Column will attack Rafa at dawn on 
January 9th from Sheikh Zowaid. 

3. The Fifth Mounted Brigade, less one rear-guard squadron, 
leaves Sheikh Zowaid at 1 a.m., and proceeds to Point 210 by the 
southern road. 

4. Order of march : Fifth Mounted Brigade, Desert Column 
H.Q., First Australian Light Horse Brigade, Third Australian Light 
Horse Brigade, New Zealand Mounted Brigade, Camel Corps, 
H.A.C. Battery, Somersetshire R.H.A., Leicestershire R.H.A., 
Inverness-shire R.H.A., and Hong-Kong and Singapore Mountain 
Battery ; the whole will move off from El Arish at 4 p.m., 
January 8th. Signal troops will march with Brigades, and R.E. 
troops will remain at Sheikh Zowaid. A rear-guard squadron of 
Worcester Yeomanry will leave Sheikh Zowaid at dawn, and move 
as a feint along the bifurcation of the Rafa road (some way north 
of 210) ; they will observe these roads and report any enemy in 
the sandhills. The rest of the force proceeds at 1 a.m. to 210 as 
above. 

It was pointed out by our Second-in- Command, on seeing 
the Medical and Brigade Orders, that the bearer sub- 
division of our Field Ambulance, with its sand-carts 
and sledges, would arrive at its destination before the 
Worcester squadron, and that the former would probably 
be the first to get in touch with the enemy, a proceeding 
which actually occurred, as will be seen later. The Wadi 
El Arish was at this time a roaring torrent, owing to 
recent rains, and it was difficult to obtain communication 



THE SINAI DESERT 99 

with the town in our rear. At midday Fritz appeared, 
evidently to reconnoitre, and found Desert Column still 
bivouacked. At 4 p.m. our force started east, accom- 
panied by R.F.C. scouts to prevent Fritz being aware 
of our movements ; he appeared, however, but was 
rapidly driven away. At 10 p.m., after riding some 20 
miles, we arrived in the vicinity of the village of Sheikh 
Zowaid, and " D " Squadron and two troops of *' A " 
Squadron Worcester Yeomanry immediately pushed on 
and made a cordon round the village, to prevent the 
natives from giving warning of our advance. One troop 
was also thrown out as an advance guard on the southern 
road to 210. While we were resting and eating a little 
food, we became aware of our immediate surroundings, 
which were most picturesque in the brilliant moonlight — 
in the foreground was the silver lake, here and there dotted 
with little islands of white salt, resembling snow, and sur- 
rounded by patches of green cultivation and giant dark 
palm-trees, which stood out boldly against the sky. At 
one end of the glistening water nestled the sleepy little 
village around which our cordon had been drawn ; not 
a sound was heard ; the silence was uncanny ; a few miles 
to the east lay an unknown Turkish force. Many thoughts 
flitted through our heads : Were the enemy's outposts 
aware of our advance ? Should we, on the morrow, be 
able to defeat and capture his outlying force, and return 
again to El Arish before he was able to call up his large 
reserves from Khan Yunus and Shellal ? It was evident 
that our cavalry force was relying entirely on its mobility, 
and it was a big undertaking to advance 30 miles, fight 
all day, and then retire again the way we had come on 
the evening after the battle. We were all supplied with 
two days' rations for man and horse, and were warned 
that no water would be obtainable until we returned to 
Sheikh Zowaid after the engagement. 

January 9th, 

At 1.30 a.m. our Brigade moved out of Sheikh Zowaid 
to 210 south-west of Rafa, and then proceeded a mile 



100 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

and a half north-east along the El Magruntein road ; at 
this point Corps and our Brigade Headquarters were 
established, and the former at once set up its wireless 
plant and its white cross signs on the ground for the use 
of our aeroplanes. At 6 a.m., soon after dawn, the 
enemy fired his first shots at our Field Ambulance Column, 
which was proceeding solemnly towards the enemy in 
advance of the Worcester squadron, just as had been 
predicted by our Second-in-Command. However, within 
a few minutes the Worcester squadron dashed up in front 
of the sand-carts. The former were met by the troop 
of " A " Squadron which had been sent out from Brigade 
Headquarters to reconnoitre. The New Zealand Mounted 
Brigade, with the Inverness-shire R.H.A., proceeded round 
to the south-east (behind Rafa) over the boundary into 
Turkish territory — on their way to this position they fell in 
with a force of 4,000 Arab irregulars bivouacked outside the 
village of Sheikh El Sufi ; these were surprised, and after 
some Sheikhs had been taken as hostages the remainder 
were rendered harmless. This was the tribe which was 
known to be hostile to us, who we were particularly 
afraid would mutilate our wounded. The First and 
Second Australian Light Horse Brigades, covered by the 
Somerset R.H.A. and the Leicestershire R.H.A., now 
approached Rafa from the south, having the Imperial 
Camel Corps on their left ; the latter were covered by the 
Hong-Kong and Singapore Mountain Battery. Mean- 
while, the Fifth Mounted Brigade (Yeomanry) were still 
Ij miles north-east of 210, facing Rafa from the south- 
west. At 8 a.m. the Gloucester Yeomanry moved across 
the open grass plain near E. Rasum, and proceeded up 
under the sandhills, where they came into action. Our 
battery (the H.A.C.) took up a position about 2 miles 
north-east of 210, with " C " Squadron Worcestershire 
Yeomanry as their escort, and immediately opened fire over 
open sights on the enemy's " B " and " C " trenches. The 
Warwickshire Yeomanry came into action on the left 
of the battery. A few minutes later our CO. took out 
the rest of the Worcesters with his Machine Gun Detach- 



THE SINAI DESERT ., . ,/ . .^V 

ment (the latter immediately proceeded' 3ue north to a 
position in the sandhills) and galloped into action opposite 
the C 1 trenches — ^this position turned out, however, to 
be an impossible one for the time being, owing to heavy- 
shrapnel and close range machine-gun fire, so we left- 
wheeled and for action dismounted about 1,000 yards 
due west of the A 2 trenches. By this time the action was 
becoming general, and Divisional Headquarters on our 
right was being heavily shelled. We advanced by rushes, 
with absolutely no cover, firing on the Turks, who we 
could plainly see getting in and out of their trenches 
(they apparently had no communication trenches) in the 
most nonchalant manner ; we then returned to our led 
horses, with our wounded, to a position behind a small 
sandhill. From this position we had a good view of the 
trenches in front of us, of which the redoubt known as 255 
was the most noticeable feature, with the houses of Rafa 
to the left ; the latter were occupied by a Turkish garrison, 
especially the large square police barracks, which were 
being shelled by our batteries. We now mounted and 
galloped into the sandhills north of the Jerusalem tele- 
graph line, and I sent an orderly back to the CO. 
of our Field Ambulance to notify him of our new 
position. About 2 miles north-east of 164 we found 
'' D " Squadron Worcester Yeomanry, who had worked 
up to that point after doing advance guard in the 
early morning with only a few casualties. Our " A " 
and " D " Squadrons opened fire on Rafa and the 
redoubt from the sandhills, with the Gloucester 
Yeomanry below them. While this was going on the 
New Zealand Brigade had got into Rafa, supported 
by the Inverness -shire R.H.A., from the east, and were 
attacking the redoubt from behind. The First Australian 
Light Horse Brigade were closing on the C 5 and C 4 
trenches, supported by the Hong-Kong Battery. The 
Third Australian Light Horse Brigade were concentrated 
on the C 2 and C 3 trenches, assisted by the Somersetshire 
and Leicester batteries. The Camel Corps also attacked 
the latter trenches after they had rushed the B 1, B 2 and 



^lC«gr, ;1^HE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

B3 trench system. In fact, with the exception of the 
northern (sea) sector the enemy's system of redoubts 
and trenches was surrounded. The former, however, were 
very strong, as they were situate on a steep hill sloping 
south and south-west, with a perfect field of fire for the 
defenders. During this time I had had a strenuous task 
getting sand-carts up into almost inaccessible places in 
the sandhills overlooking the Al and A 2 positions. 
There was every chance of single mounted men being 
wounded amongst these sandhills and never being found. 
Especially in the direction of 183, snipers were very active, 
and one was found buried up to the armpits in the sand 
behind a small aloes plant; these men continued to fire 
at close quarters until all their ammunition was expended 
and then surrendered, knowing full well that there could 
be but one ending. At 3.30 p.m. the position was 
unchanged, and the Turks, evidently expecting reinforce- 
ments, were holding out stubbornly ; the Worcester 
Yeomanry then received orders to charge the C 1 trenches, 
supported by the Warwicks on the right and the Gloucesters, 
who also attacked the A 2 trenches, on the left. We 
debouched from the sandhills and galloped across the open 
grass plain to a depression in the ground, where the regi- 
ment dismounted and left their horses. Luckily we had 
only had a few casualties crossing the open. " C " 
Squadron Worcester Yeomanry, which had been escorting 
our battery, now joined up, somewhat depleted by 
casualties, and the regiment commenced a dismounted 
attack on the Cl trenches. Meanwhile, the Worcester, 
Warwick and Gloucester machine guns, brigaded, opened 
fire from the sand-dune 2 J miles south of 183. I selected 
a dressing station behind a ridge as the attack started. 
The Turks fought stubbornly, although almost surrounded, 
but by this time their guns had been silenced. Their rifle 
and machine-gun fire, however, were intense, and we had 
many horses hit behind the dressing station. Casualties 
dribbled in, but they were not very numerous. The 
regiment attacked by short rushes and behaved splen- 
didly, and just before dusk rushed their trenches at the 




i 

5 



THE SINAI DESERT 108 

same moment that the Turks were seen to be surrendering 
on the top of the redoubt to the New Zealanders, who 
had charged with the bayonet. I had a certain number of 
sand-carts concealed behind my dressing station, and as 
well as our own men evacuated a number of Warwicks 
and Gloucesters from the other side of the plain. The 
wounded were taken from the regimental dressing station 
to the Field Ambulance at 210, and thence were conveyed 
by camel cacolet 7 miles to the Corps Collecting Station 
at Sheikh Zowaid. Each Brigade had no doubt a similar 
arrangement. (From the Corps Collecting Station the 
wounded were moved by a large convoy of carts 20 miles 
to El Arish, where they were accommodated in the 
2nd Lowland and 3rd Australian Light Horse Field 
Ambulances, both acting as Casualty Clearing Stations ; 
thence they were moved by hospital train from railhead 
to the Casualty Clearing Stations and stationary hospitals 
at Kantara, to be ultimately transferred across the Canal 
for distribution amongst the hospitals of Egypt.) The 
slightly wounded men who had had their horses shot 
we mounted on the horses of the killed and severely 
wounded, and arranged for them to follow the regiment. 
It was now dark, and our regimental sergeant-major was 
our last casualty — chest wound, serious. As there was some 
delay about getting another sand-cart in the dark, and his 
condition after the first field dressing had been applied 
appeared to be very serious, I managed to stop one of 
our motor machine gun cars and sent him direct into 
Sheikh Zowaid. About an hour previously the regiment 
had formed up and started back to the same place in order 
to water. Rainclouds obscured the moon and it was 
pitch dark. Luckily we had accounted for all our missing, 
but the Warwicks and Gloucesters still had a considerable 
number of wounded to be picked up, especially in the 
sand-dunes. On such a night a compass became a vital 
necessity in order to find one's way about the battle-field, 
R.M.O.'s were each given an escort of six men when the 
regiments moved off, as the ground was still partly occupied 
by prowling Arabs of the Sufi tribe, ready to mutilate or 



104 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

plunder the wounded. Some of these surrendered to small 
parties during the night. In addition to my six men I had 
a friend with me who had remained when our R.S.M. had 
been hit, and the former accompanied me to the Field 
Ambulance, where we had been told to report when all 
casualties had been evacuated. We fell in with various 
convoys of wounded in the dark, who were lost, and 
directed them to our Field Ambulance. The latter 
eventually lit a beacon fire to show everyone its where- 
abouts. On arrival we found the CO. out, superintending 
the collection of wounded ; the two officers in charge 
were in rather a quandary, as an A.D.C. from the G.O.C. 
Desert Column had just told them to move the whole 
unit to Sheikh Zowaid as quickly as possible, because 
4,000 Turkish reinforcements were advancing on Rafa. 
This was the reason why the garrison of Rafa had held 
out so long, knowing that this force was advancing from 
Beersheba ; as a matter of fact the enemy, on approaching 
Rafa, had been heavily attacked by an Australian Light 
Horse Brigade, and learning that the garrison had 
capitulated, had retired eastwards. The Field Ambulance 
officers did not know the latter part of this story (we 
heard it next day), and it looked as if they might be 
captured, as the Brigadier had previously ordered all 
ambulance waggons to return to the battle-field. At 8 p.m. 
we left for Sheikh Zowaid and arrived at 10.30, rejoining 
the regiment after watering our horses. Prisoners were 
handed over to the A.P.M. and the remaining wounded 
were taken to the Corps Collecting Station. There was 
plenty of water for the horses, as the R.E. troops attached 
to Brigades had been at work all day. The rations and 
drinking water brought up from El Arish by our camel 
convoy were much appreciated. It appeared that Fritz, 
who had not done much during the battle, had bombed 
the R.E. parties heavily while they were developing the 
water supply. Our aeroplanes were wonderful during 
the whole day, continually spotting for the batteries by 
dropping smoke-balls over the enemy and bringing in 
fresh news of the Turkish dispositions and reinforcements. 



THE SINAI DESERT 105 

January lOth, 

At 1 a.m., in the rain, the Brigade started on its return 
journey to El Arish. We were all very drowsy, not 
having rested for two nights, and were continually falling 
asleep in our saddles. This 20-mile ride seemed endless, 
and in our tired state the shadows on the desert caused 
the most extraordinary hallucination of vision, which 
differed according to the individual concerned. Our CO. 
told me that he seemed to be passing a continual succes- 
sion of cafes, each with a large number of tables apparently 
in the roadway ; my impression was that we were passing 
many rows of tents, and every few minutes we seemed 
to be riding over the edge of a precipice, although we 
were really riding on a level track. At dawn we met a 
large ambulance column coming out to clear our wounded 
from Sheikh Zowaid. On reaching our own camp at El 
Arish, our horses were watered and everyone immediately 
fell asleep. Our Field Ambulance and many of the 
wounded came in during the day, one Brigade Australian 
Light Horse having been temporarily left near Rafa as a 
rear-guard. The following letter picked up in a captured 
Turkish trench, and marked outside " Passed by Censor," 
is typical of the simple Turkish soldier : 

(Translation.) 
My life-giving and revered Father, Abdullah Agha, 

I am awfully worried at not having received any letters 
from you for more than a year to tell me whether you are quite 
well. I think that it is hardly fair of you to let your son worry 
like this, when he has joined the army to serve his Fatherland 
and fellow-countrymen. I can only attribute this to the fact that 
you must be very busy in your office. By the grace of God, my 
health is quite good. May it please Providence to grant my mother, 
yourself, and all my relations the best of health. Under the auspices 
of our Government and nation I am quite well, and you need not 
worry about me at all. I beg to kiss both my little gracious mother's 
hands, and am always in need of her dear prayers. Trusting you 
are quite well, my dearest father, I kiss your two holy hands, 
and anxiously await the answer to my letter. 

(Signed) Corporal , 

Regiment No. 8, 

2nd Battalion, 

No. 3 Company. 



106 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

January 11th. 

We moved our camp further up the Wadi El Arish and 
spread out the squadrons more, on account of enemy- 
aircraft. Orders were issued that everyone should dig 
himself a deep dugout in the sand : this was not easy, as 
we had no revetting material. We could get no head- 
cover, as timber was not available, but a hole was better 
than nothing. In the afternoon the regiment was 
paraded and the CO. made a speech about the recent 
operations ; he also read a letter from the G.O.C. Desert 
Column and the Inspector-General of Cavalry, congratu- 
lating the Fifth Mounted Brigade on their behaviour. 
Afterwards some of us rode up to the 3rd Australian 
Light Horse Field Ambulance, and the 2nd Lowland 
Field Ambulances, which were situated between railhead 
and the Fifty-second Division, and visited some of our 
wounded. It appeared that our Brigade had sustained 
the heaviest casualties in the recent fighting. Near the 
new pier, where steamers were lying, we saw some guns 
which were trained on the sea, and whose crews were 
keeping a sharp look-out for submarines, which might 
shell the supply depot and railhead at this point. On 
the way back to camp we passed the prisoners' cages, 
where the Turks and Germans were in separate enclosures ; 
the latter were clothed in their European grey field 
uniforms and were mostly machine gunners. A German 
ofiicer told us that they had held out so long on the 9th 
because they knew that their reinforcements were close 
at hand ; he also told us that the war would last another 
two years ! Together in killed, wounded and captured, 
the Turko-German force had lost over 2,000 men, with a 
large number of rifles, field guns and machine guns. Our 
successful cavalry raid had been purely a mounted affair, 
and not a single infantry battalion had taken part in it. 
The light cars armed with machine guns, which were 
manned by details from some Scottish regiments, were of 
great value. The successful issue had been mainly due 
to our mobility, moving out 30 miles, fighting a strenuous 



THE SINAI DESERT lOT 

battle, and starting back to our advance base the same 
night. In the evening we had a Brigade Memorial Service 
for the Dead and the Brigadier made a touching speech. 

January 12th. 

During the morning two " aviatiks " bombed us as usual, 
but without our regiment sustaining any casualties. Our 
machines bombed Beersheba at midday and again by 
moonlight at night, and dropped a message saying that 
for every bomb dropped on El Arish, five would be dropped 
on Beersheba. 

January 14/^. 

We heard that Rafa had been reoccupied by the Turks 
after our raid — Intelligence stated that a very large force 
of the enemy had concentrated at a point midway between 
Gaza and Beersheba, but much nearer to the Turko- 
Egyptian frontier than these two towns. Our squadrons 
were now doing advance patrols on the desert tracks 
east of El Arish. 

January 15th. 

Another 30 miles of railway material arrived at railhead, 
also a large supply of aeroplane bombs ; the latter was 
to us particularly pleasing. 

January 16th. 

After being bombed as usual in the morning, we heard 
a very loud explosion near the pier, which turned out to 
be a mine captured and exploded by two of our mine- 
sweepers. It had probably been laid by a submarine 
which was reported to be in the vicinity. 

January ISth. 

During the next ten days the regiment remained in 
bivouac outside El Arish, and with the exception of daily 
bombing by Fritz, nothing of interest occurred. The 
bombing was always accompanied by a good deal of 
shrapnel from our own guns, which fell in our lines. The 
unit had its first experience of the " delousing train," 



108 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the first that had been seen on this front. Universal 
anti-cholera and anti-typhoid inoculation was carried 
out, as these were now due ; the order was that every man 
should receive two anti-cholera inoculations four times 
and two anti-typhoid twice a year. In addition to this, 
whenever a case of smallpox occurred in the vicinity every 
one in the regiment was vaccinated. 

February 1st, 

The regiment marched to El Burj, where part of the 
brigade was already bivouacked. This place, which 
consisted of a few tamarisk-trees and an old well, was 
half-way between El Arish and Rafa, being situate on the 
wooded sandhills overlooking the caravan route, about 
a mile from the sea and 10 miles ahead of the railway line. 
We rode by the seaside route, and on arrival found that 
excellent drinking water had been developed on the shore 
by our R.E. It was a curious fact that the whole way 
up the Sinai Peninsula, although the water was brackish 
inland, it always had a very low degree of salinity when 
obtained near the coast. In this case the degree of 
salinity was 14 : 100,000. It was possible to drink water 
of a salinity represented by 150 : 100,000, but it ought 
to be under 100 : 100,000. This water was so free from 
bacterial contamination that it only required one measure 
(about 30 grains) of chloride of lime to sterilize 200 gallons. 
This sterilization of drinking water was one of the most 
important functions performed by R.M.O.'s, and guards 
were always posted over all water-tanks in order to pre- 
vent unauthorized persons from interfering with the 
water supply. As we rode up from the beach into our 
camp in the moonlight, the sand was so white in colour 
and the tamarisk-trees were so large that in our some- 
what sleepy condition the scene reminded one of an 
English park covered with snow. Our outposts received 
a warning that there would be a flight of our aeroplanes 
low over the camp at midnight en route to Jerusalem and 
Ramleh ; the latter had just been discovered to be the 
new enemy aerodrome between Jerusalem and the coast. 



THE SINAI DESERT 109 

February 2nd. 

Three of our aeroplanes were hidden on a small Sabkhet 
(dried lake) amongst the sandhills near our camp in order 
to attack Fritz when he returned to his base after his 
daily bombing of El Arish, it being necessary for him 
to pass over El Burj on his return journey. During our 
stay in this place our patrols brought in prisoners daily. 
I interrogated a Turkish soldier, who turned out to be a 
Syrian and could speak French ; he stated that he origin- 
ally came from Beyrout, where he was formerly employed 
as an engine-driver by a French railway company — he 
told me that the Turks used wood fuel for their engines, 
a fact which we also discovered later on, when we found 
enormous stacks of wood at every railway station. 
He also said that the new Turkish aerodrome was at 
Ramleh, and that the Turks had recently built a railway 
from Beersheba to El Auja due south, but that it was not 
completed to Kossaima ; the latter was situate on the 
Maghara hills, which we had been watching a few months 
ago. The Arab irregulars said that they had deserted 
because they did not wish to fight against the Sheriff of 
Mecca. 

February Mh. 

Some of us went out to the secret aerodrome, where 
we watched our planes ascend and attack Fritz on his 
return from El Arish. We found quite a number of animals 
which we had not seen before, such as tortoises, small 
snakes, tarantulas and iguanas : the latter are a species 
of lizard about twenty-four inches long, resembling a tiny 
crocodile. 

February 5th, 

I interrogated some more prisoners during the day, 
and one of them told me (in French) that he was a chemist 
from Constantinople who had served at Gallipoli ; he 
had deserted on account of shortage of food, and said that 
the 31st, 32nd and 170th Regiments were at Shellal, 



110 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

accompanied by Austrian batteries. Many of the 
deserters who came in had been plundered and ill- 
treated by the Arab irregulars who operated in the 
neutral area near Rafa ; one caused a certain amount 
of amusement to our men, as he came in dressed 
only in a pair of shorts. At this period our rations 
were augmented by small fish caught by the natives, 
which were a very welcome addition to our diet. A 
camel -load of oranges passed through our camp in the 
afternoon, and in a few seconds were distributed amongst 
the men. They turned out to be a supply which had been 
ordered through our native interpreter for Brigade Head- 
quarters ! At this period the wire road which was being 
laid down on the soft sand by the infantry reached our 
camp. This road consisted of four widths of rabbit wire 
pegged down on to the ground, and was of great value to 
enable the infantry to march easily. All sorts of dire 
penalties were enforced if a mounted man was found 
to be riding on this road, or if any car, other than a 
General's, was seen driving on it. The infantry also 
invented a form of snow-shoe, consisting of a wire frame 
attached to their boots, which prevented them from 
sinking into the heavy sand when marching where no wire 
road was available. 

February Qth. 

We were interested to hear that a new Cavalry Division 
was to be formed which would consist of two Australian 
Light Horse Brigades, our Fifth Mounted Brigade and the 
Sixth Mounted Brigade ; the latter Brigade, consisting of 
the Berks, Bucks and Dorset Yeomanry, had been recently 
transferred from the western frontier of Egypt. In the 
evening, while a regimental football match was in progress 
on the El Burj Sabkhet, a troop of Warwickshire Yeo- 
manry caused some amusement by suddenly appearing 
over the crest of the hill, driving before them a herd of 
about 300 camels, which they had captured while grazing 
in charge of a few armed Bedouin, 10 miles south-east 
of our camp. These camels, which were in excellent 



THE SINAI DESERT 111 

condition, were eventually handed over to the Camel 
Transport Corps. 

Febritary 10th, 

At this time we used to receive two messages a day by 
aeroplane with reports of the nearest enemy dispositions. 
At 8.80 a.m. the regiment accompanied a detachment of 
R.E. to Sheikh Zowaid, where wells were being developed, 
and on arrival threw out patrols towards Rafa ; the 
latter got into touch with the enemy, and captured a few 
prisoners who said they came from Shellal. We found 
that the Turks had erected some useful concrete tanks, 
but that they had destroyed the pumping machinery 
before retiring. The tomb from which the village took its 
name was the most marked feature of the surroundings 
and contained an interesting old sarcophagus. 

February 11th, 

An interesting and useful discovery was made by some 
of the men, namely, that the numerous ants in our camp 
were rapidly clearing the regiment of lice ! These little 
insects, when allowed to run over a man's clothing, appeared 
to be much more efficacious than any insect powder. 
Fritz paid his usual visit in the afternoon, and we began to 
feel that we should quite miss him if he failed to appear. 

February IMh, 

At 7.30 a.m. the regiment marched to Sheikh Zowaid 
again for general reconnaissance, and in order to protect 
some Staff officers of the Fifty-second and Fifty-third 
Divisions who were studying the neighbourhood. Our 
patrols were thrown out to within 2 miles of Rafa, and 
we could see the Turks plainly through our glasses. The 
whole time we were in helio, flag and telephone com- 
munication with Sheikh Zowaid, and were under orders 
to fall back on the infantry before Burj if attacked by 
numbers. We noticed a large number of Bedouin with 
their flocks before Rafa, and came to the conclusion that 



112 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the Turks could not be so very short of food, as they had 
apparently not interfered with the cattle. Deserters told 
us, through our interpreter, that these Bedouin were all 
friendly to the enemy and informed them daily of our 
whereabouts ; they belonged to the hostile tribe already 
referred to, and in accordance with orders from the G.O.C. 
Desert Column we captured half a dozen for Intelligence 
purposes. These Bedouin, when pursued, habitually con- 
ceal their arms when they see that there is no escape 
possible — on these occasions, after following their track 
for a short distance, one could usually find some newly 
turned earth where arms and ammunition had been con- 
cealed. On leaving the outpost line in order to return to 
camp a voluble old Arab patriarch rushed up and insisted 
on accompanying us ; we could not understand a word 
he said, so he was placed on a pack-horse and taken 
15 miles back to camp. It appeared that he came from 
Beersheba and that he claimed some Turkish ponies 
which one of our sergeants had rounded up with great 
difficulty and brought back to camp ; the latter was very 
crestfallen when the old patriarch proved his case and 
returned in the evening with his ponies to his native 
village. 

February lUh. 

Railhead continued to move very quickly, and during 
the afternoon the Sikh Pioneers and their railway embank- 
ment appeared opposite our camp. These troops were 
now doing all the advance railway work, and provided 
their own protection by digging trenches just in front of 
railhead every night. During the next few days the regi- 
ment did daily patrols to Rafa, and in places got in touch 
with the enemy. Intelligence stated that a new Turkish 
Division — the Fifty -third — had reinforced the Third 
Division at Shellal. This Fifty-third Division had been 
withdrawn from the Caucasus front and had been recently 
stationed at Aleppo. The Turks were evidently getting 
anxious about the Beersheba front. 



THE SINAI DESERT 118 

February 19th. 

In the afternoon our Machine Gun Detachment cap- 
tured the first Turkish cavalryman whom we had seen 
for nine months. He was evidently a patrol who had got 
lost south of our camp. The machine gunners were 
practising at a target which consisted of two palm-trees 
when, much to everyone's surprise, he calmly rode out 
from behind them. He was mounted on a sturdy Arab 
pony and was wearing a medal, which caused some amuse- 
ment when our interpreter explained to us that it was 
the Suez Canal medal ; he informed us that there were 
three cavalry regiments at Shellal. 

February 22nd, 

It appeared that about 1,000 Turks had been located 
at Khan Yunus, and that they were to be rounded up by 
the New Zealand and Australian Light Horse Brigades, 
our Brigade being left in reserve together with two 
batteries and an Infantry Brigade at Sheikh Zowaid. At 
2 p.m. the Fifth Mounted Brigade left Burj, proceeding 
south of the usual route to Sheikh Zowaid. Recent 
rain had brought on the barley, which our horses enjoyed 
immensely. The idea of the concentration of troops at 
this place was in order to prevent the Turks from Shellal 
from attacking our communications, while our two 
Mounted Brigades were in touch with the enemy at Khan 
Yunus. We captured two deserters, who turned out to 
be Algerian soldiers who had been made prisoner by the 
Germans in Belgium in 1914 ; they were very pleased 
at having escaped from the Turks, which they did on the 
pretext of foraging for food. 

February 23rd, 

At dawn the two Australian Light Horse Brigades 
advanced on Khan Yunus, and a few hours later an 
aeroplane reported that the enemy had vanished, and it 
was decided that the Australians should round up some 
hostile Bedouin tribes instead. At about 10 a.m., how- 

8 



L 



114 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

ever, a message came through that the AustraHans had 
fallen in with a very strong Turkish force and were 
retiring, after taking the Turkish first-line trenches be- 
tween Khan Yunus and Rafa. At midday our Brigade 
started to return to Burj, on the way passing the Twenty- 
second Mounted Brigade (Stafford, Lincoln and West 
Riding Yeomanry) who were on their way to take their 
place in the Anzac Mounted Division ; this Division 
consisted of the above-mentioned Yeomanry Brigades, 
with three Australian Light Horse Brigades, and the 
Imperial Mounted Division consisted of two Australian 
Light Horse Brigades and the Fifth and Sixth Mounted 
Yeomanry Brigades. 

February 2Uh, 

We were astonished during the morning to hear an 
anti-aircraft gun firing at Fritz from only a few hundred 
yards away. The former had been established in the 
valley beneath our camp, and as we were on the hill 
immediately above the gun, the shells seemed to skim 
our camp and some prematures burst in our kitchen. 

February 2Sth, 

It appeared that our big offensive was expected during 
the coming full moon, and many were the conjectures 
as to where our Brigade would attack. It was stated 
that we were opposed by some 30,000 Turks in the 
vicinity of Shellal and Beersheba. 

March IsU 

The railway had now reached Sheikh Zowaid, and our 
mounted patrols had been in touch with the Turkish 
cavalry to the south of Shellal. 

March Mh, 

Our CO., who had been away for a few days on patrol 
with the Staffordshire Yeomanry, told us that the Turks 
(30,000) held a very strong position at Weli Sheikh Nuran, 
where our cavalry had come in contact with their out- 



THE SINAI DESERT 115 

posts, also in the neighbourhood of Abasan El Kebir, 
Abu Khatli and El Abreish. 

March 10th, 

The Brigade marched along the shore to Bir El Amafidi 
and Thamila, about a mile distant from Sheikh Zowaid, 
and bivouacked with the rest of the Imperial Mounted 
Division. 

March 12th. 

Sheikh Zowaid had now become an important railway 
station, and a large number of infantry regiments and 
batteries were bivouacked in the vicinity. During the 
next few days Fritz attacked us regularly, but did not 
cause many casualties in our area. Maps of Kosseima, 
Beersheba and Jerusalem were issued, which evidently 
meant that we should be soon advancing over new country ; 
but before this occurred G.O.C. Desert Column gave per- 
mission for the Imperial Mounted Division, the Anzac 
Mounted Division, the Fifty-second, Fifty-third and 
Fifty-fourth Divisions to hold a steeplechase meeting 
on the fine grass country outside Rafa. On March 16th 
we were joined by the Sixth Mounted Brigade, and heard 
that we should soon be attacking Gaza. 



CHAPTER IV 

PALESTINE 
March 21st. 

Owing to impending operations, Desert Column races 
were held near Rafa during the day ; it had been intended 
to hold them a week later. The Fifth and Sixth Mounted 
Brigades left their camps at 8 a.m. and proceeded to the 
northern side of Rafa, where they bivouacked just across 
the frontier in Palestine. Our Brigade was now ready to 
move " light " at a moment's notice, three days' rations 
being carried by every man and an extra two days' rations 
for each being carried by pack-horses. We were given 
full instructions as to the areas in which we might expect 
to find water during our advance, and we were told that 
the Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth Divisions would prob- 
ably attack Gaza, aided by the Anzac Mounted Division 
on their right flank and by the Imperial Mounted Division 
on the Beersheba side. 

March 22nd. 

Our " A " and " C " Squadrons proceeded to the Goz El 
Taire Ridge, 3 J miles east of Khan Yunus, where they 
assisted and provided protection for the R.E., who were 
developing wells. Fritz was over during the afternoon, 
and appeared to be very curious about the concentration 
of troops in the Rafa area. Orders were received for the 
Imperial Mounted Division to make a reconnaissance in 
force towards Gaza. 

Orders for March 23rd. 
Objective of the Worcester Yeomanry is Sheikh Nebhan, on the 
Wadi El Ghuzze. First bound, Gloucester and Worcester Yeomanry 

116 



PALESTINE 117 

proceed to Beni Sela, east of Khan Yunus. Second bound, Worcester 
Yeomanry proceed to 320 (In Seirat), and then move to 310 at 
8 a.m. Warwick Yeomanry and Field Ambulance proceed to 
340, whence Warwick Yeomanry will take up a position on Tel 
El Jemmi. R.E. field troop and the Worcester Yeomanry will 
look for wells near Seirat. Divisional Headquarters at 330. 
B.H.Q. at Abu Teibig. Fifth Mounted Brigade holds the line Sheikh 
Nebhan to Abu Bakra (both on the Wadi). Third Light Horse 
Brigade on the left holds the line Sheikh Nebhan to the sea. Sixth 
Mounted Brigade will be in Divisional Reserve behind Seirat, 
and camels and tent subdivision of Field Ambulance remain at 
Khan Yunus. All ranks will carry six days' rations with them 
and on pack-horses. 

Before going to sleep we worked out the bearings of 
these various positions in order to be able to find our way 
back if we should be isolated from the main body. 

March 2^rd. 

At 5 a.m. our Brigade left camp, according to orders ; 
as we passed over the hill and descended into the Khan 
Yunus valley, a veritable Promised Land met our view — 
below us lay a flourishing village, dominated by the ruins 
of an ancient Crusader castle and surrounded by tall 
trees and green fields, which were irrigated by running 
water and plentifully dotted with bright-coloured flowers ; 
and stretching away in the distance were the golden 
cornfields of southern Palestine ; on the rolling downs 
towards the sea many cattle and sheep were grazing. It 
was a scene of peace and plenty, and was a great contrast 
to the sandy wastes of the Sinai Peninsula. It must be 
remembered that at this time the country was still flourish- 
ing from the effects of the recent winter rains ; a month 
or so later the same country-side presented a very different 
picture. We arrived at the village of Beni Sela about 
7 a.m., and after a halt proceeded along the 300 contour- 
line on the Goz El Taire Ridge and halted at 320, near the 
hamlet of In Seirat. Here we found the Sixth Mounted 
Brigade in Divisional Reserve and some curious " aviatiks " 
buzzing overhead ; we rode on over very rough ground, 
intersected by numerous small Wadis, which were 



118 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

tributaries of the Wadi El Ghuzze, until we reached 310, 
and took up our line according to orders. We could see 
the bearer section of our Field Ambulance at 340, and to 
the south-east the Warwickshire Yeomanry on that very 
marked feature Tel El Jemmi, on the western bank of the 
big Wadi. From our position we obtained a view of Gaza 
and could hear the 3rd Australian Light Horse in action 
on our left ; meanwhile the Turks were shelling our patrols 
with their mountain guns. While this was in progress, 
those of us who were in reserve grazed our horses on the 
green barley and watered them in the numerous water- 
holes. While this reconnaissance was in progress the 
Staff officers of various Divisions obtained a good view of 
their future objectives. The flowers on the Goz El Taire 
Ridge made a beautiful picture, and in some places the 
poppies gave colour to the whole hill-side. The tent 
subdivision of our Field Ambulance, which had been 
ordered to move to Abasan El Kebir, was attacked by some 
Turkish patrols and had to withdraw to Beni Sela. At 
3 p.m., the reconnaissance having been completed, we were 
ordered to retire. A little later some " aviatiks " attacked 
us with their machine gun, causing some casualties 
amongst the Warwick Yeomanry ; the rear-guard squadron 
of the latter regiment were attacked near Tel El Jemmi, 
when retiring, by a squadron of Turkish cavalry, who 
fired from their horses as they trotted through the stand- 
ing com — needless to say, without causing any serious 
casualties. After spending some time in assisting to extri- 
cate one of our men from a ditch, who was in difficulties 
owing to his horse lying on the top of him, I caught up 
the main body and returned with them to camp at sunset. 

March 2Uh. 

All day long Infantry Brigades marched in, and by the 
end of the day the railway extended 3 J miles into Palestine. 

March 25th. 

The Brigade marched out at 8 a.m., and proceeding 
along the beach, halted midday amongst the sand-dunes 



PALESTINE 119 

at Tel El Marakeb, where they fell in with the Sixth 
Mounted Brigade. In the afternoon the two Brigades 
marched to Deir El Belah, where they arrived at sunset. 
We bivouacked near the shore of a pretty lake, which was 
surrounded by vegetation and palm-trees, and at one end 
of which a European house had been built ; the latter 
was evidently the summer residence of some Gaza 
merchant. We were given a very rough idea of the 
dispositions of the enemy forces : 

The enemy are in force at Huj, Abu Hareira, Tel El Sheria, and 
Gaza. The Imperial Momited Division will hold the line from 
Abu Teibig to Huj — facing south. Anzac Mounted Division will 
hold the line from Huj to the sea — facing north. The Fifty-third 
Division will be on the Gaza road, and the Fifty -fourth Division 
will be in the vicinity of Sheikh Abbas. 

In other words, our force on the morrow was to com- 
pletely surround Gaza. 

We off-saddled for a few hours after watering at the 
lake, and an officer was sent out to reconnoitre the position 
of the great tree at El Demeita, where we were to rendez- 
vous on the morrow. We were in good spirits, as from all 
accounts there was not a very formidable foe before us. 

March 2Uh. 

At 1 a.m. the Brigade left its bivouac, less the Glouces- 
tershire Yeomanry, who had been detached in order to 
act on the left of the Fifty-third Division on ^he sea- 
coast. The distance from Belah to Demeita was about 
2 miles, but owing to the head of our column taking a 
most serpentine course, it was dawn before we reached 
our rendezvous, and saw what a short distance we had come 
after riding for many hours. While en route I had to 
stop to attend to a man who had just been extricated from 
under his horse in a ditch, and, after making sure that 
his leg was not broken, discovered that our column had 
completely disappeared in the inky darkness. However, 
after waiting about five minutes we heard mounted troops 
approaching, and were delighted to find that it was the 



120 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

head of our column ; the latter had evidently described 
a complete circle, luckily for us ! And so we struggled 
on through the night, alternately walking, trotting and 
galloping until certain landmarks became quite familiar — 
in the dim dawn we fell in with the Sixth Mounted Brigade, 
and proceeded with them over the In Seirat Ridge to the 
Wadi Ghuzze, the precipitous banks of which were crossed 
north of Tel El Jemmi, and reached the Divisional rendez- 
vous at El Mendur about 7.30 a.m. The Anzac Mounted 
Division had crossed the Wadi an hour previously and 
were proceeding in a north-easterly direction for Beit 
Durdis, about 5 miles east of Gaza. Our (Imperial 
Mounted) Division now rode north-east, making for 
Khirbit Sihan. The role of the cavalry and Imperial 
Camel Corps was apparently to keep off the enemy rein- 
forcements which were approaching from the north and 
east. We were informed that the enemy had 48 guns, of 
which 24 were in Gaza, and that the disposition of his 
troops was roughly as follows : Gaza 4,000, Huj -Sihan 
5,000, Beersheba 5,000, and Nejile 7,000. As the sun 
appeared, the heavy fog which had enveloped us gradually 
disappeared, and we noticed that the landscape had now 
changed, and that instead of the rough and stony country 
intersected by Wadis, whose banks were so steep that they 
could only be crossed at certain points, we were now 
riding over grassy, down-like country, actually intersected 
by English-looking brooks fringed with kingcups ; in 
the neighbourhood of Khirbit Sihan we were able to water 
the whole regiment in one of these refreshing-looking 
streams. Our Brigade, after crossing some old Turkish 
trenches, reached the Gaza-Beersheba road, at that time 
not yet menaced from the east, and passing under the tele- 
graph wire which connected these two towns, our CO. 
sent a man up to cut the line, and one thought for a 
moment that Gaza was isolated from Beersheba ; how- 
ever, the passage of Fritz overhead, who was following 
the road, soon reminded one that the Turks would through- 
out the day be able to communicate with their reserves. 
Divisional Headquarters were located at Khirbit El 



I 



PALESTINE 121 



Reseim, where also the Divisional Dressing Station was 
established. - Our Brigade Headquarters were established 
at 457, facing south-east, with the Worcester Yeomanry 
on the left and the Warwick Yeomanry astride the Beer- 
sheba road on the right. Our " C " Squadron recon- 
noitred towards Hareira, where they came into action. 
*' D " Squadron were held in reserve, and " A " proceeded 
towards Khirbit Zuheilika ; at the latter place a camp 
was surprised and surrounded, the occupants of which 
surrendered as the squadron galloped up. Our post 
corporal, who had taken a particular liking to a German 
officer's sword, galloped the owner down until he eventually 
possessed himself of the weapon. Half an hour later the 
squadron returned over the hill to Regimental Head- 
quarters with about 100 prisoners, most of whom pre- 
sented a rather ridiculous appearance, as they had been 
surprised while being disinfected and were very scantily 
clothed. Some German officers who escaped had left all 
their kit behind, and for weeks afterwards " A " Squadron 
were to be seen wearing the latest thing in silk shirts 
straight from Berlin. While this little comedy was in 
progress, the great tragedy of the first Battle of Gaza had 
already commenced. We heard heavy firing to the west 
before Gaza, and a little later became ourselves involved 
with the enemy reinforcements, who were approaching 
from the east. A big gun from Hareira began to bother us, 
one shell taking heavy toll of the Warwicks near Brigade 
Headquarters. During the morning " aviatiks " flew back- 
wards and forwards continuously over our heads between 
Gaza and Beersheba, generously peppering us with their 
machine guns en route. Some patrols of Turkish lancers 
were encountered, but did not show much initiative. 
The early morning fog was followed at midday by a 
" Khampsine," and the heat became very great. The 
action now became general, the Fifty-third and Fifty- 
fourth Divisions making great progress south of Gaza, 
while the two Cavalry Divisions, being in action with 
the enemy reinforcement, completed the investment east 
and north. We heard afterwards that the Anzac Mounted 



122 I'lli: DIAHV OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

DivJNion linl u im\lly prot into Oaas* fi'om behind and had 
captunMl ilu (:()( iinl Sh.rr of the Turkish Kirty-lhini 
DivlNion, wli<» \v< k Icmviii^' i\\r town in niUn. On our 
h'H (lookin^rcji'.l ) lownnis Ihij, the Sixth Mounlcd Hri/^iuh^ 
\\<i< III .kIioii <mi I lie hill.;, :iihI ;iI fi p.m. OUI* ''!)*' 
S«|iijidron were NrnI ovrr 1 hr VVudi KolUhidi lo rcinron'c 
Hum : i\\r {\>rt\\v\\ with lh«' Ih rkshirc K.ll.A., iippciircd 
l«» l»< li< ixily cMi^aKCil wilh Mm- Iokc inlvniuMn^ from 
lluj. Al *». 15 p.m. vv<* received n ni< . im I Iml our Urij^iuh* 
lleiuhpiMilers was hein;^ heiivilN .tlinkcMl i'i'i)\\\ Ihe 
Itrc i.Ih l»;t r«>:Mi \>\ :\ 'riiiUi.-.h iiiLinlry I ).il talion, lind U 

.s(pm,(h*«)ii \\ 1 . .ir((»r<lm<'l\ :.( nl lo rcmlorec the Wurwick- 
Nhire Vconinn \ . <)iir |>.ili«»l.'; rcporlcd I hut the en<*mv 
Wer<* .'i»l\ .iiuiM". m «tniM(l(i;ihl(' iniinlxr. IVoin llu . .i I 
and Noul.li <mnI, hut we iippcMicd to he ui n /^ood posit lou, 
with H line licld of iiiT tow.irtis the ruciuw Al)out (\ p.m. 
our Hri^ade, VVhi<-h \m\.- imIIu r :.r;ill(r(«l. i(<(i\t(l ouliir. 
t(» ren(h'/.vous nt. Hcil I)im<Iis. .ilh r ill wounded luid l)een 
evueuattMl to Khirhit 101 |{( .( mi. .As 1 hiul lit.tli* to (h> 
i wati disp.iirli((l lo 4:ill III our ** D ** Sqniuh'on, who 
luid he<Mi •111 M|» !.► III. Si\lli Uri^fude. and \v:is told 
that a, hiMiiiij'. »•! :vl.» would luin^ us lo l.lie poinl injn 
n«il l)m«iis where llu- lhi;>;id<' w«»ul<l kikK/nous. DuNk 
\v;i-. r;illiiiv,. -Hid iilhr (ro'.Mii|» I lie W'.idi l\olkhah and 
ikIiii," u|> :i lull our " I) ' S<pi;i<lr« »ii \\n\ discovered, VVt' 

.1 ».iii ir< .Miiin^ to onh'rs, hui i.Mild (hid no one at the 

:ippoiiil((l n ndr/,\ous ; w<" iod( on lor hours in the (hirk- 
ncss, liillui|4 III Willi d( I hIiiim III . ol x.uiotis units. l)Ut 

no one leenied to know wIkiIki Ci-.i lud heeu cnptnrcd 

or not* At <»uc place we cjiuie ucioss one ol our own 
bfttterleii wlueh seemed very va^ne tis to whnt had 
happened; d inolhei- we round Ihe KiniKiiils of oni' 
Divisional lleadipi n h i .. who eoul<l ^ive ns no udormation 
M to the whereahoni . ol «tnr re^inant or our Hii^iuh' — 
the Silunlion \\.i. ol>-.«iir< Should wc ehnner il ^lud 
make for (ia/.a. ? Not. a siu^dc Stall Olhcer w« eneouulered 
tliat nij^dit could tell us iinythin^. As \\ ( < tossed the 
!?(•( r -Ik l);i ro;ul lU tile d.iikiK.'.. ;i iiiolor di.palch rid(T 
rode hy. saymg that, (in.i Ii.mI l^dh u ;iud that lie WUM 



H^ PALi:SlINK 128 

^fttakingin diHpaUrhcN. AlxMit 1 i.ao p.m., when tha squftdron 
^^Boriei wen? K*'^'*''"K * ^:li.Mi ,1. (I, i.y III* >n. ,t/-Mf, luck we 

^™Tc11 in with our rc^nuM nl., wIikIi vv< lound irj.lin^ by the 

roudHichr hctwccii Khirhil. Sili.m iind Ali Mnnl.iii*. Here 

we rested lor about fin hour, our CO. receiving no orderN ; 

ViiriouH unitK rode by, liiNt of idl tlie hri|>rrinl ('furH!l CorpM. 

** Who \h lollowiri^ i»ehind you Y'^ <:.ll< .1 o.., CO. '"l\w 

TurkH," was IIk' l.-irnmc .nnwrr, whicli ii .ippeared wuM 

[lerlectly tru( 1 And now vv« \h^uii to r< iilr/.( I hr jdiawtly 

/iiis(ro thnt hud been niMi.d. We knew th;il w. hiid 

Nurrourxhtd (luza, and thnt our DiviNion hn.d not been 

heavily en^a^ed (our own Hri|/ii<l«- hnd hnd I'w rnsiinh ieH), 

W that the Infantry Divisions hnd .1 mi-. <. i/: hkI had 

■ captured Ah Muntnr, and thnt thr An/aes hiid <iii<i<d 

'> the town from behind and in Hpitc of IhiH wc wcic 

retiring ! 

March 27tk, 
At 1 a.m. otir own regiment eommenoed to retire, and 

lidin^ throu^^h the ni^ht over very brol * n fM'.und often 
lield Uf) by retr^-Ml ire InMf port <'ohnnn umI tiDi , i/mI by 
prr-(ripitous ravJiM < Im <l i <i'. in;' <.l ili< VV.mIi 

(ihu///(Mien,r Sheikh Nrbhun iil, <hiwn. .hr.l Ixlof -h .rnd- 
inj^ from the hi/di«r «rrourid into th< v IK / w. I, ,d ;. hiMt 
vi(!W of (ja'/a v. iiii li . -.hd.ely niniu k-Ii w Ii:i'1 

thought I !)< d.i ■/ l.< Ion w.r, .di' ;idy onrs. SoUie, iiin i* <i n < (| 
cars [)a:.;.i (i li:. vvhjcli lia.d nuiowly rsrjiprd r;i|Jiii., 
having found themHelves sniM.iind'd \>/ lli< 'I'm I m il.«- 

dim <hl.Wn. JOvi'y.vfi' i'- on- ■..>■:.■ < /id' n<-< <)l <.in lull I I'd 
retreat, <'V<Ty unit i.ljiviii;' !•> <-\<>.. lli« VV.mIi ;. . <|iim I ly 

as pOHSibI' . tijirHeHH f.lliny, <.i f.iiiif I . h'.i' <»m ,/..yin/r 

woun(h-d wehl,w;i,rds, ;i.nd ;i . Mi' nu \->j .ukI lli* l.r.l, 
mount<;ci unil'i b<'<';in to nd< lliioiifdi I l)< VV.idi.lli' 'rinl.i.li 
^unner« cAnniw n<< <\ !■» .Im II il/- «i'-,,iii/^ !.'ijii< <-l <.nr 

transport flitd to \f .di;i;id<,n< d, OWm/' lo Mm Hill in- (d" 

th(; ground nnd I.k.I n .x^Jc:;. VVithni i li'Tt tun': Llic 

whoh- of th' I I retired by van-u < innninf^u wcit 

of th<: VViwii (;iHiz/,< , ;j.nd by ^> '50 ., m -.ur Divihion waH 

back in it« origiiiui bivouac uL J Jen liil iJdah. Alter 



124 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

watering our horses in the lake, we had just off-saddled 
and were beginning to light our fires, in the hope of getting 
some food and rest after two nights without any sleep, 
when orders were received that, on account of an expected 
offensive by the enemy, our Division was to take up a 
defensive position on the In Seirat Ridge. The clear 
morning had been followed by another torrid day, and 
as we rode out through the native village we were almost 
choked by the clouds of fine white dust. The two Cavalry 
Divisions halted near El Demeita and remained there in 
reserve until dusk. We heard that the Turks were 
threatening our right flank and that they would try to 
reoccupy the Sheikh Nuran positions which they had 
evacuated in January after the Battle of Rafa. The 
enemy had evidently " got their tails up," after driving 
us back from Gaza, and were intending to press home 
their advantage. We were to hold the Abasan El Kebir 
positions. At dusk the Brigade moved up to In Seirat 
and deployed on the Goz El Taire outpost line, with the 
Third Australian Light Horse Brigade on its left and the 
Sixth Mounted Brigade on the right. That night, to our 
great relief, we had our first tea for three days. So ended 
the first Battle for Gaza, and the following extracts, 
taken from The Times (weekly edition) of April 6, 
1917, which we received about a month later, are of 
interest : 

1. British Report. 

FIGHT FOR THE HOLY LAND. 

Sir A. Murray's Victory. 

20,000 Turks Defeated, 

8,000 Casualties. 

Telegraphing on March 28th, the G.O.C.-in-Chief, Egypt, reported : 
We advanced our troops a distance of 15 miles from Rafa to the 
Wadi Ghuzze, 5 miles south of Gaza, to cover construction of the 
railway. On the 26th and 27th we were heavily engaged in this 
neighbourhood with a force of about 20,000 of the enemy. We 
inflicted very heavy losses on him, and have taken 900 prisoners, 
including G.O.C. and whole Divisional Staff of Fifty-third Turkish 



PALESTINE 125 

Division. . . . The operation was most successful, and owing 
to the fog and waterless nature of the country round Gaza just 
fell short of a complete disaster to the enemy. . . . 



2. Turkish Report, 
A BRILLIANT VICTORY. 

Turkish Report, March 28th. 

Sinai Front. — The long-awaited attack, which had been so 
carefully prepared by the enemy, began on March 26th. The 
fight developed in the neighbourhood of Gaza on the afternoon 
of March 27th, and terminated in a brilliant victory. 

The British forces were composed of about four divisions. Numer- 
ous heavy guns and several armoured motor-cars of the enemy 
also participated in the action. 

During the course of the battle, which lasted two days, the enemy 
suffered heavy losses, leaving numbers of dead on the ground. 
Two hundred, including one officer, were made prisoners. One 
armoured motor-car and two other motor-cars were also captured. 

The enemy retired in a south-westerly direction, pursued by 
our troops. 

In this fight our 125th Infantry Regiment particularly dis- 
tinguished itself. In spite of the extreme violence with which 
the fight was contested, our losses were quite small. — Renter. 

March 2Sth, 

When the sun rose we found ourselves on the edge of 
the standing corn on the Goz El Taire Ridge, and sent 
patrols to Abasan El Kebir and Weli Sheikh Nuran ; we 
were soon aware that the Turks had followed up our 
retreat to the Wadi banks and had even crossed it in 
places, as our patrols came in contact with the enemy 
and sustained casualties at El Imaan. During the 
morning we were reinforced by the One Hundred and Fifty- 
sixth Brigade of the Fifty-second Division ; this Division 
had been in reserve during the Gaza fighting ; and at night, 
after being relieved, our Brigade came down to the Wadi 
Selka, near Belah, for a well-merited rest. 

March 29th. 

The bivouac at Selka was a fairly good one, and a 
plentiful supply of fresh water was discovered near the 



126 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

beach. It can be well imagined how the bathing was 
appreciated after our experience of the last few days. 
Rumour had it that another attack was to be launched 
on Gaza during the next few days, assisted by tanks 
and gunboats ; we, who knew the very large number of 
casualties our force had sustained, could hardly imagine 
that the idea of an attack could be entertained before 
large reinforcements arrived ; it seemed to us that there 
was a very good chance of the Turks, who were now in 
large numbers on this front, cutting our long line of com- 
munication near Rafa. The scene presented quite an 
animated appearance as several small gunboats and an 
old French battleship appeared off the coast. In the 
evening the Sixth Mounted Brigade joined us, and we 
heard what very heavy casualties the Fifty-third Division 
had sustained. 

March 30th. 

At midday our Brigade marched to the Goz El Taire 
line, and took up the outpost line \5rest of the Wadi from 
El Breij-Seirat to Abasan El Kebir, relieving the Third 
Australian Light Horse Brigade. The weather was much 
cooler, and there was a pleasant breeze on the top of the 
ridge from the sea. In the afternoon, we could see Fritz 
bombing railhead about 8 miles away, the latter being 
now 2 1 miles beyond Khan Yunus. More entrenching 
tools were sent out to us, and the Fifty-second Division 
held the line on our right. 

March 31st, 

Most of the day was spent in digging trenches, and there 
was a little desultory rifle fire at our patrols near the Wadi. 
In the evening the Brigade returned to the Selka bivouac, 
near Belah, after being relieved by an Australian Brigade. 
All night long our big guns were busy shelling Gaza. 

April 1st. 

A rumour was current that Enver Pasha had arrived 
near Gaza with large reinforcements. A message was 



PALESTINE 127 

read from General Sir Philip Chetwode saying that the 
harder the work he gave our Division, the better it was 
done, and that we had held up a very much superior 
number of Turks near Gaza on a 12-mile front. In the 
evening we heard that eight tanks had arrived, which we 
had never seen before on this front. 

April 2nd. 

Fritz was very busy in the morning, as he found the 
two Cavalry Divisions an easy mark for his bombs. We 
heard that the Seventy-fourth Division (Dismounted 
Yeomanry) was about to join our force and that the 
Turks had received large reinforcements, now amounting 
to six Divisions, and that Enver Pasha had been down 
and told them to hold on at all costs. During the last 
few weeks we had seen no Turkish deserters, probably on 
account of troops with better moral being employed on 
this front. In the cool of the evening some of the newly 
arrived tanks caused much amusement by going through 
the enormous cactus hedges, which in some places were 
at least ten feet high and ten feet thick, with the greatest 
ease. 

April Srd. 

Half the regiment marched out at 5 a.m. to dig fresh 
trenches along the outpost line on the Wadi, where they 
were shelled by Turkish mountain guns. Orders were 
received to make a new type of cavalry stretcher, and the 
regimental saddlers got to work immediately. These 
stretchers consisted of two light bamboo poles four feet 
long, joined by a piece of canvas three feet by nineteen 
inches ; they were ultimately carried attached to the 
sword, and proved invaluable when full-size stretchers 
were not obtainable. Owing to native spies having cut 
the air line between Belah and KJian Yunus, we were 
ordered to send out a patrol every night between these 
places. In the evening an Armenian M.O., who had 
deserted from the Turkish battalion to which he was 
attached, crossed the Wadi and joined us. He had taken 




128 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

a degree at Harvard, and told us in good English that 
the Turks had a large force at Jaffa, where they feared a 
landing with a view to an attack on Jerusalem ; he also 
told us that the enemy had 50 guns round Gaza, two of 
which were 15-inch, but that at present they feared to 
take the latter off the railway. 

April 4ith. 

On account of the very precipitous Wadi banks, which 
in some places constituted a sheer drop of from 50 to 100 
feet, it was considered essential that crossings should 
be made by which guns and transport could traverse 
the river-bed. At present there were only a few places 
where this was possible, and these were well registered 
by the Turkish guns. These proposed new crossings 
were to be utilized in the coming attack on Gaza. At 
5 a.m. our regiment, with many others, moved out to 
the Wadi Ghuzze and commenced to dig an artillery 
crossing over the Wadi near Tel El Jemmi, one squadron 
being sent on to the further side for protection. Fritz 
was Very inquisitive and tried to disturb us while at work, 
but by 5 p.m. the regiment had completed a cutting and 
a ramp down to the river-bed capable of taking two 
lines of transport abreast. The men returned to camp 
thoroughly tired out, as they had been working very hard 
in order to get the work done before dark. 

April 5th, 

In the early morning the Brigade took over twenty-four 
hours' outpost duty again. The line was advanced a mile 
beyond the I in Taire. Fritz came over at nine o'clock and 
again at two, when he was shot down between us and the 
sea. We found that quite a considerable trench system 
now existed on the outpost line, of which our Brigade 
held the portion between the I in Taire and Abasan El 
Kebir. The Worcester Yeomanry were in the centre, 
with the Warwicks on the left and the Gloucesters on the 
right, while the Fifty-fourth Division were on the left 
of the Fifth Mounted Brigade and the Seventy-fourth 



PALESTINE 129 

Division and Imperial Camel Corps were on the right. 
On the whole it was a quiet night, with a little sniping in 
the morning. 

April 6th. 

After a cold night we came down from the outpost 
line to our horses, which were grazing a few hundred yards 
below ; this valley, with its waving corn and beautiful 
grass fields studded with marguerites, cuckoo flowers, 
poppies and cornflowers, was most beautiful, and a 
most remarkable contrast to the terrain which existed 
on the other side of the Goz El Taire Ridge. We were 
very short of firewood, but luckily several evacuated 
native houses were found, consisting of mud and wooden 
beams, which disappeared remarkably quickly when our 
men got to work on them. It was an extraordinary fact, 
which we learnt to our cost, that these old Bedouin houses, 
though not lived in for months, were absolutely infested 
with the most vicious type of flea. In the afternoon we 
were relieved as usual by another Brigade, and returned 
to the sea-shore. 

April 7th. 

At this time, owing to the large number of troops con- 
gregated round Belah, the dust was becoming intolerable, 
and we decided to move our camp further away. A 
pleasant site accordingly was selected between the fig 
groves and the sea. Fritz saw us move and bombed us 
at 9.30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Gas-masks were issued to us 
during the day, and we began to wonder how long we 
could exist in them during the heat of the day. During 
the night a large number of our aeroplanes flew over us 
and bombed Gaza by moonlight. The jackals, no doubt 
attracted by the numbers of horses and camels killed in 
the vicinity, became very noisy at night. 

April 9th. 

In the evening the Brigade moved out to be in reserve 
to the Sixth Mounted Brigade, as there was some idea that 



I 



130 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the Turks might attack ; this, however, did not mature, 
and we spent rather a cold night standing to. 

April 10th. 

The Brigade returned to Selka, and with great regret 
we said good-bye to our General, who had commanded 
us in the field for nearly three years. During the next 
few days hundreds of camels were employed to carry 
water in fanatis, in order to fill the large native cisterns 
which existed between Um Jerrar and Tel El Jemmi. 
A reference to the Bible showed us that these wells had 
originally been dug by Abraham. 

April 11th, 

Information was received that the enemy had altered 
their dispositions, and that Gaza was now only held by 
three Brigades, while a great concentration of troops had 
taken place round Beersheba. It was said that on this 
account all our plans of attack would have to be altered. 
At midday our Brigade moved out for its usual twenty- 
four hours on the outpost line, one of our squadrons 
holding an advanced post on Tel El Jemmi. To the 
north of the latter place the infantry advanced and 
seized some ground which was required. 

April 12th, 

During the morning we heard loud explosions at Rafa 
and Belah, and later some Taubes returned over us after 
their bombing raids. It appeared that they had bombed 
our aerodromes at both these places. A little later our 
planes ascended, and passing over us, visited Beersheba, 
making three journeys, each time returning for a fresh 
supply of bombs. In the evening, on returning to camp, 
we received a warning not to bathe far from the shore, as 
sharks had been seen in the vicinity. At this period the 
bathing was very enjoyable, especially after sleeping one 
or two nights in one's clothes. At camp there was still 
a great shortage of firewood in order to cook the evening 



PALESTINE 131 

meal, and the former had to be brought long distances 
on camels after the demolition of deserted native huts. 

April 13th, 

During the morning we could see our outpost line being 
shelled by the Turks, but the shells did not fall beyond 
the ridge. Rumour had it that in addition to the Fifty- 
second, Fifty-third, Fifty-fourth, Seventy-fourth, the two 
Mounted Divisions and the Camel Corps, other Divisions 
from India and East Africa were going to reinforce us in 
the next attack on Gaza ; we also heard that a composite 
Franco-Italian Division was on its way up. The Turks 
had now been reinforced by two more Divisions from the 
Caucasus. During the afternoon an enemy aeroplane 
flew over and dropped the identification discs of the killed 
and a list of the captured at the Battle of Gaza. Fritz 
was somewhat troublesome in the evening, and we suffered 
somewhat from our own shrapnel, my own helmet, which 
was lying by my side, being pierced by a piece of one of 
our own shell-cases. 

April listh. 

We were awakened early by the Turkish big gun, which 
had now got the range of the Belah camp. The supply 
dump by the railway had a particularly hot time. During 
sick parade Fritz dropped some " eggs " as usual, and 
we suffered some casualties to men and horses. 

Intelligence. — ^The Turks now have 25,000 troops opposite us, 
including their Third and Fifth Division, and some seventy guns. 
The forces are grouped chiefly at Gaza, Sheria and Hareira. Beer- 
sheba has been evacuated,^ and the line torn up between it and 
Sheria in several places. There is a big supply dump at Dhaheriyeh, 
near Hebron, where also is a cavalry regiment, 6,000 strong. 

Our battery commander told us that the big gun 
which had been shelling us in the morning was 8 miles 
away, and that none of our Belah guns had got that 
range. 

* This information proved to be false. 



I 



132 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

April leth. 

During the day the Warwick Yeomanry reconnoitred 
before El Mendur, accompanied by some of our officers, 
one of whom had his horse shot. The land batteries 
near Gaza shelled our ships in the roadstead, but without 
doing any damage. We were informed that our disposi- 
tions on the morrow, preparatory to the second Battle of 
Gaza, would be as follows : " Our Brigade was to take 
up the line at Asseiferia to Khirbit Erk, with its centre 
at the junction of the Wadis Sheria and Imlieh, and with 
the rest of our Division was to hold the Turkish Sheria 
force. The Anzac Mounted Division was to go to Shellal 
and hold the Hareira force. The Fifty-fourth Division 
was to attack the Sheikh Abbas position at dawn with the 
Fifty-second Division on its left and the Fifty-third 
Division on the sea sector. Every mounted man was to 
carry five days' rations for himself and his horse. On 
the second day there was to be a general advance, our 
Division attacking the Atewinieh trench system with the 
Fifty-fourth Division on its left, who were to be supported 
by the Seventy-fourth Division, after a general bom- 
bardment at dawn. Before dawn on the first day the 
Worcester Yeomanry were to send out two officers' patrols, 
who were to gallop through the Turkish outposts and cut 
the telegraph wire on the Gaza-Beersheba road in front 
of El Munkheileh." At 6 p.m. the whole Division rode 
out to Tel El Jemmi, where we bivouacked for the 
night. 

April 17th, 

At 1 a.m. two of our " D " Squadron officers, each 
accompanied by five picked and well -mounted men, left 
on their adventurous expedition ; in order to make cer- 
tain of success, it was decided that they should attempt 
to get through the Turkish outpost in two places. An 
hour later our Brigade trotted out in the dark over the 
Wadi Ghuzze, and after about an hour reached the S 
in the Wadi Sheria, where Brigade Headquarters was 



PALESTINE 188 

established. It was now getting light, and as the regiment 
trotted on to the plain we came under rifle fire, and dis- 
mounting, took up the line Zuiamara-Magam. At 8.45 
our officers' patrols returned, having accomplished their 
object with only one casualty and one horse shot. It 
was a fine piece of work, as, although they got through 
the line unobserved, on their return journey in the dim 
dawn they came into close contact with the Turks, and it 
was only the pace of their horses which enabled them to 
escape, followed by a shower of bullets. Meanwhile, we 
had entrenched our line and the Turks had advanced in 
one place, but were easily repulsed. We heard the 
bombardment of Sheikh Abbas going on on our left, and 
later heard that the Fifty-fourth Division had captured 
their objective. As a considerable number of the enemy 
appeared on a ridge on our left, south of the Wadi Baha, 
the CO. asked for a battery, which came into action east 
of Khirbit Um Rijl and effectually dispersed the force. 
At midday we watered our horses at the well near the EI 
Magam mosque, a few at a time, owing to our being 
directly under hostile artillery fire. At 2 p.m. the Sixth 
Mounted Brigade, which had been in divisional reserve at 
Jemmi and had watered at Abu Hiseia, crossed the Wadi 
Sheria at 280 and relieved us ; the enemy's guns now 
registered this crossing, but with a certain amount of 
luck we managed to get the whole unit across without 
any casualties, and proceeded over a grassy plain some 
3 1 miles to Karim Abu El Hiseia. Here we passed through 
a regular mountain gorge before reaching this part of the 
Wadi Ghuzze, which lies just north of Shellal. Excellent 
watering arrangements had been made by the R.E. for 
men and horses, which were much appreciated by both. 
It appeared that Fritz had been over a few hours previously 
and caused serious casualties to an Australian Light 
Horse Brigade which was watering at this spot. After 
watering, the regiment proceeded along the left bank 
of the Wadi and reached the bivouac at Jemmi at 
nightfall. 




134 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

April ISth. 

During the day we were held in reserve at Tel El Jemmi 
and heard the French and British battleships bombarding 
Gaza from the sea. In the afternoon our CO. gave us 
orders for the morrow. 

The infantry will hold the line from Khirbit Sihan to the sea, 
and together with the cavalry on their right will attack soon after 
dawn after two hours' bombardment, provided there is no fog. 
The Imperial Mounted Division will operate on the right of 
Sihan with the Fourth Australian Light Horse Brigade on the 
left, the Third Australian Light Horse Brigade in the centre 
(Directing Brigade), and the Fifth Mounted Brigade on the right, 
the Sixth Mounted Brigade being in support ; the Anzac Mounted 
Division \will operate on the right of the Imperial Mounted Division. 
The direction of our attack will be 60°, and our objective is the 
Atewinieh Redoubt on the Beersheba road. " C " Squadron 
Worcester Yeomanry will advance before dawn and dig a special 
trench in front of the Wadi Baha on a ridge facing 60°. All ranks 
will carry gas-masks. When the attack commences the regiment 
will advance on foot out of the Wadi in front of Munkheileh, the 
front of the attack for the Fifth Mounted Brigade being from the 
H of Munkheileh on the left to the R in Rijl on the right. To 
commence with, the Gloucester Yeomanry will be on the left, the 
Worcesters on the right, and the Warwicks in support. The Anzac 
Division on our right has for its objective Baiket El Sana. All 
horses will be left in the Wadi, with the exception of those belonging 
to squadron leaders and pack-horses carrying ammunition. 

The following medical orders were received the same 
evening : 

A Divisional Dressing Station will be established at a point 
half a mile west of Asseiferia by 6 a.m. on April 19th. Six waggons 
from the Fifth Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance will be attached 
to the Divisional Dressing Station to evacuate wounded to the 
Collecting Station at Jemmi. The remaining eight carts with 
mounted bearers will be available to collect wounded from the 
regimental aid posts and will be at El Mendur by dawn on April 19th. 

Each regimental Medical Officer was also supplied with 
one or two sledges, drawn by a single horse and led by 
a mounted man, which proved most useful where the 
ground was suitable. 



PALESTINE 135 

The Second Battle of Gaza. 

April 19th. 

At 2 a.m. our Brigade left the bivouac at Tel El Jemmi 
and arrived south of the first H in Munkheileh at 5 a.m. 
All the horses were left in the Wadi behind Munkheileh 
Manor Farm, and at the latter place our first dressing 
station was established. At 5.30 our general artillery 
preparation commenced, but only lasted until about seven 
o'clock ; during this period the enemy were silent, but 
directly it was over they responded vigorously with 
shrapnel and H.E. Meanwhile the Brigade moved out 
of the Wadi to commence a dismounted attack towards 
the Gaza-Beersheba road. There was no cover and 
casualties from our own and an Australian Brigade on 
our left quickly accumulated, so in order to keep up 
with the regiment my dressing station, with personnel, 
pack-horses and sledges, etc., was quickly advanced to 
the Wadi Munkheileh, to the west of the Wadi Baha, 
and we started to collect casualties from the Fifth 
Mounted Brigade and the Third Australian Light Horse 
Brigade. As the ground was of a sandy nature our 
sledges proved most useful, and it was possible in some 
places to bring them back almost at a gallop ; but in 
several instances they became involved with the field- 
telephone wires, and in this way seriously affected com- 
munication with Brigade Headquarters. As we advanced 
the fire became heavier, and after pushing our dressing 
station into the open we were able to get a view of our 
Divisional Dressing Station at Asseiferia, away on our 
left ; the latter appeared to be in an awkward position, 
as wounded had apparently to be evacuated parallel to 
the firing-line, over a route which was being continuously 
shelled, as along it were located our divisional reserves. 
Our Field Ambulance, with its carts, now moved up to 
the Wadi Munkheileh, in part of which was also located 
Brigade Headquarters ; we evacuated our cases to the 
former, whence they were passed through the Divisional 
Dressing Station at Asseiferia to the Collecting Station at 



186 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Tel El Jemmi, for ultimate transference over rough country 
to the railhead Casualty Clearing Stations at Deir El Belah. 
By midday the enemy's shelling became worse, and 
every minute we expected to see our Field Ambulance in 
the Wadi annihilated, as H.E. was apparently falling all 
round it. Our led horses, nearly all of which we had left 
behind us, and the H.A.C. battery also had a hot time, 
one of the guns of the latter receiving a direct hit. Mean- 
while our Brigade had advanced to within a short dis- 
tance of the Atewinieh Redoubt, and were lining a short 
depression on the ridge before it. This redoubt was 
situated on the Beersheba road and was the objective 
of our regiment. Our Regimental Dressing Station was 
moved forward behind this ridge, luckily escaping the 
shrapnel which was falling round it. The Field Ambulance 
now moved up to the commencement of the Wadi Baha, 
where also Brigade Headquarters was established. As 
it was now impossible to get wounded out of the firing- 
line on this ridge from behind, as we had been previously 
doing, I decided to work up the Wadi Baha towards the 
Beersheba road and remove them through a cleft in the 
rocks which led up into the firing-line ; accordingly we 
rode back to our Field Ambulance to secure sand-carts, 
my sergeant having his horse shot under him en route, 
an accident which was quickly remedied by catching a 
loose horse. We found our Field Ambulance crowded 
with wounded and enveloped in clouds of acrid smoke 
from the enemy's aircraft bombs and H.E. shells, the 
latter being probably intended for our battery, which was 
situated a few hundred yards behind it. After securing 
the carts we took them up to the Wadi Baha, towards 
the firing-line ; this Wadi was the usual dried watercourse 
with sandy bottom, flanked by cliffs some twenty feet high, 
and here and there intersected by small confluent Wadis 
which led up into the plain. After proceeding a short 
distance we soon realized that the Turks, aware of the 
route by which our reinforcements were being brought 
up, had registered this Wadi, as the cliffs began to fall in 
here and there, owing to the enemy's shelling. The 



PALESTINE 137 

road was littered with casualties, but our duty was to 
bring the carts as near as possible to the firing-line, so we 
pushed on. Leaving our horses near the Gloucester 
Yeomanry Headquarters (this regiment and the Warwicks 
were holding the line on the right of the Wadi), we pro- 
ceeded on foot, followed by our carts, as far as the ground 
was practicable. While resting for a few minutes with the 
Medical Officers of the other two regiments, the enemy 
again commenced to search the Wadi methodically with 
his guns from below upwards. We could see the shells 
gradually exploding nearer and nearer to us. Should 
we run on 50 yards to the next bend, or stay where we 
were ? We decided to remain, and the next shell exploded 
at the very spot to which we had intended to run, bringing 
down tons of cliff at the same time. We now established 
another dressing station and collected casualties from both 
sides of the Wadi, which at this point were sloping, not 
precipitous, and constituted part of our front line. It 
was difficult work for our stretcher-bearers to carry the 
wounded down from the banks of the Wadi at its extreme 
end, as at that point they were in close contact with the 
enemy. Finding a narrow cleft in the rocks on our left, 
we were able to reach our regiment and evacuate our 
wounded to the carts which were waiting below. Our 
dressing station was next established in a slight depression 
on the ridge which we were holding before the Atewinieh 
Redoubt. It was a strange experience, as being on a slight 
eminence, about 200 yards directly in front of the enemy's 
batteries, his shells meant for our batteries behind the 
Wadi Munkheileh just skimmed our heads at the com- 
mencement of their journey, then exploded about 
2 miles in our rear. Meanwhile our own shells also passed 
immediately over us, exploding just in front on the Ate- 
winieh Redoubt. About 3 p.m., owing to our losing touch 
with the regiment on our left, a large gap appeared in 
the line, and we could see the Turkish infantry advancing 
through the standing corn on our flank ; they enfiladed 
us, and our left being now completely in the air, the situa- 
tion looked serious. Our " A " Squadron leader was 



138 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

killed, several officers were wounded, and many casualties 
occurred amongst the other ranks ; our ammunition was 
running low and the enemy was steadily closing in. A 
message was sent for help, and within a short space 
the G.O.C. Sixth Mounted Brigade dispatched the Berks 
and Bucks Regiments to our aid. These units, which 
had been in divisional reserve behind the Wadi Mun- 
kheileh, responded gallantly, and galloping across the plain 
under heavy fire, dismounted and came quickly into action. 
The situation was saved, but at a price, amongst the killed 
being one of the most popular and brave officers who ever 
commanded a squadron of the Berkshire Yeomanry, and 
amongst the wounded the CO. of the same regiment, 
shot through both legs — many others fell that day, includ- 
ing some of the finest yeomen from the South Midlands 
and West of England. We found our short cavalry 
stretchers most useful, as they could be easily carried 
through the narrow clefts in the rocks. At 6 p.m. orders 
were received to retire, and soon afterwards we commenced 
to withdraw to Munkheileh. At the latter place one 
could be of some assistance, as several carts of seriously 
woimded had just arrived, and needed immediate atten- 
tion before being dispatched to the Jemmi Collecting 
Station. After procuring two men for the CO. of our 
Field Ambulance to act as ground scouts for his colunm 
of waggons, which was about to proceed over very broken 
country in the dark, I discovered that our regiment had 
completely disappeared in the night. Having previously 
taken the bearings from Munkheileh on several landmarks, 
our little party rode by my compass across the Wadi 
Sheria and the Wadi Ghuzze, eventually falling in with 
the regiment at Tel El Jemmi at midnight. A curious 
accident occurred just before reaching the latter place, 
a yeoman and his horse disappearing into one of the large 
native cisterns ; on calling to the man below, he answered 
that he was all right, and after giving his horse a feed, 
clambered on to his back and was pulled out of the well 
by his friends ; on the next day a working party got to 
work and successfully dug the horse out. So ended, as 



PALESTINE 139 

far as we were concerned, the second Battle of Gaza — 
we did not know whether Gaza had fallen or not, but we 
knew that our Division had lost heavily and had failed 
to pierce the enemy's line in the direction of Sheria, 
chiefly on account of the lack of artillery ; the two hours' 
artillery preparation which we had witnessed in the 
morning now seemed pathetically short, considering the 
volume of the enemy's artillery fire which we encountered 
later in the day. 

April 20th. 

At 2 a.m. we reached El Mendur, dead beat, and heard 
the news that Gaza had not fallen. Horse lines were put 
down, and every one, except the unfortunate line pickets 
and sentries, immediately fell asleep on the stony ground. 
At 6 a.m. we were up again, and received orders that a new 
outpost line was to be entrenched, our Brigade extending 
from Tel El Jemmi to El Mendur. The regiment accord- 
ingly commenced to dig trenches on the hills overlooking 
the Munkheileh district, while Fritz amused himself by 
dropping a few bombs on us and also some smoke-balls, 
the latter, however, failing to attract the Turkish gunners' 
attention. During the afternoon orders were suddenly 
received to stop digging, and on scanning the plain below 
us with our glasses, we could see the enemy's cavalry and 
infantry advancing. The Brigade immediately mounted 
and galloped some 4 miles across the plain, and took over 
the line Munkheileh-Erk from the Berks Yeomanry, who 
had been holding it since the previous night. The CO. 
of this unit told us that the enemy infantry had been 
strongly reinforced in our front, and that some cavalry 
were threatening his left flank. It was said that the 
enemy, strongly reinforced since April 19th, were assuming 
the offensive all along the line. We found that the 
trenches which we had made on April 17th had been much 
improved during their occupation by the Sixth Mounted 
Brigade. Our Brigade Headquarters was established at 
280, near the crossing over the Wadi Sheria, where also 
the horses of the three regiments were located for the 



140 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

night. The expected attack did not, however, mature, 
and we passed a quiet but wakeful night. 

April 21sL 

At dawn " C " Squadron sent back for their horses and 
patrolled in the vicinity of Erk. We had considerable 
difficulty in watering our horses, as it was a question of 
either riding all the way back to Jemmi or else watering 
at the wells near the white mosque at El Magam ; the 
latter course was followed, although watering parties 
were shelled every time they approached the wells. 
Rations now reached us regularly, and were dumped in 
Wadi Sheria. 

April 22nd, 

In the morning our patrols were in touch with the 
enemy infantry and cavalry, but with the exception of 
our watering parties being shelled there was very little 
going on. We heard that it was proposed that our regi- 
ment should gallop the Baiket El Sana position, which 
had been the objective of the Anzac Mounted Division 
on the 19th, after dark. To attack at the gallop a strongly 
entrenched and wired position in the dark appeared to 
us to be a mad idea. One could not help remembering 
that if this idea materialized, the attack and probable 
debacle would take place on April 23rd, a date of ill 
omen. Fritz appeared as usual at midday, and later 
we heard how our planes had retaliated for the bombing 
of our Brigade a few days ago. Finding a Turkish Cavalry 
Brigade massing for a counter-attack in the Wadi Imlieh, 
forty-eight bombs were dropped on the regiments, which 
were closely packed between the steep banks. Needless 
to say, no counter-attack materialized. Later we heard 
that the attack on the Baiket El Sana position had been 
cancelled, and that our Brigade would withdraw to Abasan 
El Kebir at nightfall. Naturally this gave rise to a good 
deal of surmise as to why our present line was being 
abandoned, especially as the enemy did not appear to be 
assuming the offensive. We heard for the first time of 



PALESTINE 141 

the very heavy losses sustained by the Fifty-fourth 
Division on April 19th, and how the Norfolks had suffered 
on rushing in to capture a redoubt which was supposed 
to have been successfully gas-shelled ; we also heard how 
some of our tanks had been lost, and of the changes 
which had taken place in the Higher Command. These 
facts, coupled with the news that the Turks had received 
another 14,000 reinforcements and the total number of 
casualties which our whole force had sustained, had rather 
a depressing effect on some of us. We had had practically 
a complete week's fighting and digging, with little sleep 
and scarcity of water, and had apparently little to show 
for it except a retirement as far as our Brigade was 
concerned. At 6.45 p.m. our rear-guard squadron was 
withdrawn from the front of the white mosque at El 
Magam, where it was patrolling, and by 7.30 the whole 
Brigade was carefully withdrawn over the Wadi Sheria, 
with scarcely a shot being fired. In absolute silence the 
Brigade rode to Abu Bakra, where the twelve mounted 
regiments of the Imperial Mounted Division assembled. 

April 23rd, 

At 2 a.m. the Brigade arrived at the native village of 
Abasan El Kebir, after riding over precipitous banks 
in the darkness. At one time two Brigades were retiring 
in parallel lines close to one another, and now and then 
one found oneself riding with a strange regiment, and 
a good deal of confusion prevailed amongst the various 
units. As there \^as no drinking water available at 
this bivouac, it had to be fetched all the way from 
Khan Yunus, which entailed the strictest economy in 
water consumption. We received orders to remain in 
this camp for four days in order to dig trenches (officially 
designated a rest) and then return to a new outpost line. 
We heard that two enemy aeroplanes had alighted two 
days ago close to the railway on the Sabkhet at Salmana 
in the Sinai Peninsula, some 60 miles in our rear, and 
while one of the Germans got a machine gun into action, 
the other proceeded to blow up the railway line and the 



142 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

pipe line. Both these aeroplanes managed to escape 
unharmed, as our lines of communication were so thinly 
guarded ; the damage which had been done was, however, 
quickly repaired, and the amount of water which had been 
lost was not sufficient to seriously hamper the front-line 
supply. 

April 2Uh. 

In the morning the regiment rode down to Deir El 
Belah and much appreciated a bathe in the sea, which 
was the first wash we had had for about ten days. The 
heat was terrific, as a Khampsine wind was blowing. We 
visited the railhead Casualty Clearing Stations at Belah 
and saw many of our wounded, returning to Beni Sela 
at night after watering at Khan Yunus. 

April 25th. 

More English newspapers were received, with accounts 
of the first Battle of Gaza. In the evening we came across 
some of the new Seventy-fifth Division, who were doing 
outpost duty in our vicinity. The view from Beni Sela 
towards Khan Yunus, with the old Crusader castle and 
other buildings surrounded by masses of trees and vege- 
tation, set in the midst of sandy country and backed by 
the brilliantly blue Mediterranean, was very fine. 

April 26th, 

At 4 a.m. the Brigade marched to Sha'uth, formerly 
one of the Turkish strong posts south of the eminence 
known as Weli Sheikh Nuran, which had been evacuated 
by the enemy after the Battle of Rafa. Some of us left 
later, at 8 a.m., and rode with a convoy of carts and pack- 
horses to El Gamli, where the Nuran-Beersheba road 
crossed the Wadi Ghuzze. A wild gorge led down into the 
Wadi, the banks of which were rugged and mountainous. 
We found excellent standing water in the pools which had 
been left behind after the river had ceased to flow a few 
weeks ago. We ate our lunch sitting on a rocky shelf 
overhanging one of these pools, which was delightfully 



PALESTINE 143 

cool and shady in the heat of the day. After resting and 
watering we joined our regiment some 4 miles from the 
Wadi, where they were encamped amongst the defences 
of Sha'uth. 

April 27th. 

Our camp at Sha'uth was on the 500 contour-line 
2 miles south-east of Weli Sheikh Nuran ; the Turks, 
according to prisoners captured at the Battle of Rafa, had 
spent many months in 1916 in fortifying the former two 
places, and when one saw the magnitude of the work 
undertaken and the commanding positions, it was hard to 
understand why they had been evacuated. There were 
literally miles of well-made trenches in the Sha'uth system ; 
these had been dug when the clay was soft and were now 
baked hard by the sun; the dugouts were wonderfully made, 
and underground stables existed for the cavalry. Our 
regiment was bivouacked in an apricot orchard to the 
west of the chief redoubt, and at night the Turkish 
trenches were manned; unfortunately, these faced the 
wrong way, i.e. west, consequently a lot of work had to 
be put in, in order to convert the former reserve trenches 
into front -line trenches looking east. In front of their 
trench system the enemy had constructed many rows of 
pot-holes, in order to hold up advancing cavalry. These 
holes were perfectly round, about six feet in diameter 
and four feet deep, and it was evident that they had been 
made in the wet weather, when the clay was soft, with some 
special instrument, as they were all perfectly symmetrical. 
Sign-boards were still up in the trenches, being written 
in Turkish and German, and it was apparent from the 
inscriptions in the battery positions that most of the 
howitzers had been Austrian. About 3 miles to the 
north-east of our camp was that very prominent feature 
Tel El Fara, a hill with precipitous sides which rose 
abruptly from the plain on the west bank of the Wadi 
Ghuzze, somewhat resembling in outline Tel El Jemmi. 
As only our three regiments were at Sha'uth, it devolved 
on the senior Regimental Medical Officer, in conjunction 



144 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

with the R.E. officer, to arrange for the Brigade's water 
supply. Accordingly, two 2,000-gallon canvas tanks were 
erected at Gamli (some 3 miles from our camp), into 
which water was pumped from the pools in the Wadi ; 
here the water was chlorinated in bulk and the usual 
precautions were taken against Bilharzia, as the standing 
water in the green pools suggested the possibility of such 
an infection. Guards were placed on the water supply, 
and a way down the steep Wadi banks was eventually 
discovered by which it was possible for water-carts to 
descend^ It was arranged that the three Medical Officers 
should take it in turns to be responsible for the purity 
of the day's water supply, and be present at its distribu- 
tion. While this water supply and also the horse watering 
arrangements were being developed, a squadron was sent 
over the Wadi for protection and came in contact with 
a few patrols. We arranged for the transference of possible 
casualties by sand-cart to Weli Sheikh Nuran, whence 
they could be fetched by motor-ambulance or camel 
convoy to our Field Ambulance at Beni Sela. One 
realized at this time that any morning we might find our 
watering area in the hands of the Turks, in which case we 
should have to fall back on the water from Khan Yunus, 
which was 12 miles in our rear. We heard that the Turks 
had got several new Divisions and might try to turn the 
flank on which we were. A good deal of time was taken 
up in watering the horses, as twice a day 6 miles had to 
be covered in order to water them. As the men were 
digging when they were not watering their horses, it will 
be understood that they were having a pretty strenuous 
time. 

April 28th. 

During the morning our Field Ambulance arrived, and 
we worked out the best line of evacuation should the 
Sha'uth position be attacked. Some Turkish cavalry 
captured on patrol stated that they were part of 3,000 
who had been sent down from the Caucasus ; they were 
well equipped with lance, sword and rifle, and were 



PALESTINE 145 

mounted on stalwart ponies. Our battery arrived in 
the afternoon and was parked near the Brigade. During 
the evening, watering at Gamli, we saw numbers of very 
fine storks, which were probably on the way to Central 
Europe. On the way back to camp we passed through 
orchards of pear and apricot and almond trees, the 
blossom of which made a beautiful picture. There was 
a thin crop of grass on the light sandy soil of the Fara 
plain, over which our horses, on the way to water, very 
soon developed marked tracks ; and within a week or so, 
when other cavalry brigades had arrived, not a single 
blade of grass or wheat could be seen, and the terrain 
resembled a desert scene. 

April 29th, 

After dawn one squadron reconnoitred down the Wadi 
Shanag by Goz Mabruk to Bir Esani, where some enemy 
camps were seen. On account of the precarious position 
of our water supply, which, being 3 miles from camp, 
might be seized any night, a reserve of water was collected 
by day and stored in canvas tanks in the trenches ; a 
reserve ration dump was also developed by means of camel 
transport from Khan Yunus, so that in the event of our 
being surrounded we should be able to hold out for some 
days. An officer deserter told us that the enemy would 
attack Sha'uth on May 1st, and at the same time would 
cut our communications at El Arish. 

April SOth, 

A Brigade of the Anzac Mounted Division arrived and 
bivouacked on the plain between Sha'uth and Fara. It 
was my day on water duty, and one could not help thinking 
that the M.O. who was down in the Wadi at dawn on the 
morning on which the Turks attacked might have an 
exciting time in getting back to our camp. 

May 1st, 
K After standing to all night, the Turkish attack did not 
^■nature ; Fritz merely came over and dropped a few bombs. 



146 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

At midday we were joined by an Indian Imperial Service 
cavalry regiment. 

May 2nd, 

Intelligence stated that the enemy were in large numbers 
at Beersheba, Hareira and Sheria, and that he had received 
large artillery reinforcements. We were now joined by 
the Seventy-fourth (Dismounted Yeomanry) Division on 
our left, a regiment of the latter sending a double company 
to occupy Tel El Fara ; this position covered the Wadi 
crossing, and it was considered that if the garrison could 
prevent the enemy from watering for twelve hours, the latter 
would have to return to Beersheba for watering purposes. 
These yeomen, on their lofty position at Tel El Fara, 
were known as the Die-hards, although the place was 
subsequently never attacked. 

May Srd. 

Our Brigade left Sha'uth during the morning, after 
being relieved by the Fourth Australian Light Horse 
Brigade, and rode via Weli Sheikh Nuran to Abasan Kebir. 

May Asth, 

In the early morning we heard the heavy bombardment 
of Gaza going on, assisted by our ships from the sea. In 
the afternoon our horses were inspected by the Divisional 
General. 

May 5th. 

One of our officers, returning from Deir El Belah, told 
us how Fritz had dropped thirty-five bombs on the 53rd 
and 54th Casualty Clearing Stations at railhead, causing 
some hundred casualties amongst patients and R.A.M.C. 
personnel. We heard that we were to go to Tel El Marakeb, 
on the sea-shore, for a rest in a few days' time, when the 
Sixth Brigade would take our place in the reserve line. 
We needed a rest badly, as the Brigade had been hard 
at work continuously since the first Battle of Gaza, and 
most of the men were wearing bandages on account of 



PALESTINE 147 

septic sores, partly caused by lack of washing facilities. The 
slightest abrasion would cause a sore, which was quickly 
followed by the inflammation of the nearest lymphatic 
glands. At this period some hundred men attended 
sick parade daily, in order to have their sores dressed ; 
but owing to recent casualties, and lack of reinforcements, 
most of these men had to be kept on full duty. Pedicu- 
losis was also rampant, as the officers and men had seldom 
had an opportunity of getting their shirts washed. We 
had been sleeping in our clothes for over six weeks, and 
merely had the change which we were able to carry on 
our horses, so looked forward with considerable pleasure 
to seeing our valises again ; we had endured all this 
discomfort owing to all our Brigade transport being 
taken away and used by the Divisional Ammunition 
Column. 

May 6th. 

Fritz dropped a message in the morning, saying that 
he had bombed our hospitals as a reprisal for our shelling 
a mosque in Gaza and for bombing a convoy of his 
wounded. As a matter of fact, the mosque contained an 
enormous ammunition dump, which we saw subsequently, 
after the fall of Gaza six months later. It was said that 
the convoy of wounded, having no distinctive marks on 
its waggon, was mistaken for a transport column. Fritz 
also added in his message that he would bomb the 
hospitals again at 8 p.m. on the same day. It was a 
moonlight night and he kept his promise, but this time 
only causing about thirteen casualties. 

May Sth. 

The Brigade marched to Tel El Marakeb, where we rested 
for a week — it was a pleasant bivouac on the beach, and 
plenty of bathing was indulged in both for men and horses. 
We began to feel the want of tents, as the sun was getting 
hot, but on account of aeroplane observation none were 
allowed. 



I 



148 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

May 15th, 

Our rest having come to an end, the Brigade moved 
into reserve, bivouacking at El Fukhari in the Abasan 
watering area. 

May ISth, 

During the next two days a Khampsine blew, accom- 
panied by appalling dust-storms. The heat was tre- 
mendous from this hot wind, and we had several cases 
of heat-exhaustion. The temporary dugouts in which 
we lived became quickly filled with sand, and this per- 
colated into all our food. 

May 21st. 

The authorities appeared at last to be alarmed at the 
sick-rate in our Brigade, which at this time amounted 
to 10 per cent, hospital admissions daily, on account of 
septic sores ; everyone was thoroughly stale and listless, 
and it appeared that we were the only Mounted Brigade 
which had been continually on service east of the Canal 
since February 1916 without any rest other than an 
occasional few days. A rumour had it that we might 
get a protracted rest, and in any case, if the latter did 
not mature, it was evident that the Brigade, which was 
already far below strength, owing to casualties, sickness 
and lack of reinforcements, would rapidly dwindle away. 

May 22nd. 

In the morning operation orders were received for a 
raid on a Turkish railway on May 23rd. 

General Idea. — ^To destroy the railway line between Asluj and 
El Auja (this was the line which the Turks had built southwards 
from Beersheba in 1915 for their attack on the Canal. From its 
termination at El Auja a good road led to the Maghara hills, and 
an enemy force in this district, although separated from our railway 
line by some 20 miles of desert, might threaten our lines of 
communication south of El Arish, via the Hod Bayud. In Novem- 
ber 1916 our Brigade had been watching the Maghara hills for 
this reason.) The enemy hold the line Bir Imleih-810-El Hathira. 



PALESTINE 149 

The Imperial Camel Corps, one squadron from the Imperial 
Mounted Division, and two squadrons R.E. will destroy the railway. 
The Anzac Mounted Division will proceed at 4 a.m. on the 23rd 
towards Khalassa, via Esani, and thence to Goz Sheihili, to watch 
the approaches from Beersheba. 

The Imperial Mounted Division will attract the enemy at Beer- 
sheba from the raid on the railway, and at 4 a.m. Divisional 
Headquarters will be at Goz Lakheilat. The Sixth, Fourth, and 
Third Mounted Brigades, in the above order, will hold the line 550- 
Imsiri-El Buggar-Rashid Bek, joining the left of the Mounted 
Anzac Division. The Fifth Mounted Brigade will be in reserve 
at a point 1 mile south of Khasif at 4 a.m. on the 23rd. The 
Imperial Mounted Division will advance against the line Bir Imleih 
810, El Hathira, Abu Yaia, the Sixth and Fourth Brigades being 
north of the Fara-Beersheba road and the Third Brigade south 
of it. Divisional Dressing Stations will be estabUshed on the east 
bank of the Wadi at Gamli and Fara. 

At 7 p.m. the Brigade left its bivouac and marched 
9 miles to Gamli, where we bivouacked west of the Wadi 
with numerous other Brigades. 

May 23rd, 

At 2 a.m. we crossed the Wadi Ghuzze and proceeded 
to our rendezvous 1 mile south of Khasif, two troops 
leaving our regiment to act as escort to a heavy battery 
at Karm. At 7 a.m. we heard the railway demolition 
party at work in the direction of Asluj. A little desultory 
shelling went on through the day, our Division getting 
within 3 miles of Beersheba with practically no opposition. 
About midday our heavy battery at Karm opened fire 
on the railway embankment north of Beersheba. Karm 
appeared to consist of a few white houses, one of which 
was of considerable size, and later became known as Karm 
Tower House, being surrounded by some fine orchards ; 
at a later date this place became a sort of No Man's Land, 
and was usually held through the day either by British 
or Turkish cavalry patrols, whoever happened to seize 
it first in the morning. There was a particularly venture- 
some Turkish squadron leader, who rode a white Arab 
pony and was well known to all the Yeomanry and Aus- 
tralian Light Horse regiments as the Squire of Karm. 



150 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

There being no water at this place, owing to the cisterns 
having been pumped dry, we watered at the wells at 
Khasif. In the afternoon the Anzac Mounted Division 
covered the retreat of the railway raiding party, and later 
the Imperial Mounted Division covered the Anzacs. At 
6 p.m., the Third, Fourth and Sixth Brigades of our 
Division having retired, our Brigade acted as rear-guard, 
a few shots being exchanged and a few Turkish cavalry 
following us in the dark. We passed through the wire 
before the Wadi at 10 p.m., and bivouacked on the western 
bank at midnight. 

May 2Uh. 

While watering in the Wadi during the morning, to- 
gether with the Bucks Yeomanry, Fritz came over and 
caused some casualties. At midday we returned to 
Abasan El Kebir, and noticed that the branch railway 
from Rafa had reached Weli Sheikh Nuran. During the 
next two days we remained in reserve, and received orders 
that the Imperial Mounted Division would take over from 
the Anzacs on the 28th. 

May 28th, 

The Division moved to the Fara plain, where they 
disposed of themselves between the Tel and Sha'uth. 
We all received orders to dig dugouts in the sand at least 
six feet deep, as it was realized that we should be a very 
good mark for enemy aeroplanes ; we were bombed 
three times during the day, and our anti-aircraft guns 
seemed to have no luck. It appeared that at this time our 
own aeroplanes were not of the newest variety, and were 
quite unable to cope with the new " Halberstadts," which 
had recently arrived on this front from Germany. In the 
evening orders were received for our Brigade and its 
battery to cross the Wadi and proceed along the Beer- 
sheba road to Karm, on the morrow, where we were to 
take up an advanced outpost line from the El Buggar 
Ridge to the Wadi Um Sirr, while some Staff officers 
studied the surrounding country. 



PALESTINE 151 

May 2^ih. 

The Brigade, less the Warwieks, who were out at Ghabi 
digging trenches, left its bivouac at 3 a.m. and proceeded 
along the Beersheba road to Karm. Here we left Brigade 
Headquarters with our " D " Squadron in reserve. The 
Gloucester Yeomanry proceeded towards Um Sirr, while 
we went on to Khasif, below the El Buggar Ridge. It 
was now light, and we could see parties of Turkish cavalry 
and infantry appearing over the ridge about a mile and 
a half to the east. As we advanced, brisk rifle fire broke 
out, and we had an excellent view of the enemy running 
in and out of cover. We gradually forced the Turks 
over the ridge, which we held while the reconnaissance 
by the Staff officers proceeded. Meanwhile the Gloucester 
Yeomanry were advancing the same way on our left, 
and the Fourth Australian Light Horse Brigade on our 
right. During the morning the Brigade had a few 
casualties and lost a few horses. While the action was 
progressing, the led horses were watered below the ridge 
at the Khasif wells. These " wells " were wonderfully 
made, and were really large cisterns which had been 
filled with water during the rainy season by means of 
converging trenches from the hills around. On letting a 
bucket down one could see the blue water some twenty feet 
below in an enormous cave, the surface of the former 
being brightly illuminated ; on going down the side of 
the hill one could see the reason for this, a large arched 
window having been cut in the rocks, through which one 
could see a vast cave of white chalk stone, the roof of 
which was supported by pillars, whose reflection was 
continued into the bright blue water ; the light streaming 
in from above caused the interior of the cave to be brightly 
illuminated. This cave, with its carved pillars, had 
possibly been a retreat or a place of worship in ancient 
times, which the Turks had at some time converted into 
a reservoir, by making a hole in the roof and diverting the 
surface water from the hills into it. Close to this cave 
was a large cup-shaped depression, surrounded by rising 



152 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

ground, around the circumference of which was a large 
system of caves, all connected with one another, their 
roofs being supported by carved stone pillars. These 
caves had evidently been recently used by the Turks as 
underground stables, and we estimated that one cave 
alone would conceal a whole squadron. In one place 
there was a carved niche in the wall, where evidently some 
image or altar had formerly been. One could not help 
wondering whether these caves might not have been a 
retreat of the early Christians, or some temple of the 
PhiHstines. Before midday we retired " by bounds," 
occupying ridge after ridge, the Turks following for a short 
distance. After riding about 10 miles we reached the 
Gamli crossing, and reached our camp as Fritz left it. As 
moonlight nights were coming on, we deepened our dug- 
outs, as we knew that night air-raids would be regular. 
At this time we were getting very tired of Fritz's atten- 
tions, as he used to come with absolute regularity at 8 a.m., 
4 p.m., and sometimes again at 6 p.m. ; it was particularly 
annoying, as he practically always left unscathed. 

May Slst, 

The Sikh Pioneers had at this time started a railway 
cutting down to the Wadi between Fara and Gamli, and 
the Egyptian Labour Corps had laid the railway to within 
a mile of our camp. " A " Squadron was sent out to 
Ghabi to assist the Warwicks in digging trenches and 
putting up wire. This position was on our right flank, 
and somewhat exposed to a flank attack. In the evening 
orders were received that the Brigade would assemble at 
Gamli at 7 p.m. and move to Esani, which was said to 
be occupied by the Turks. Our Brigade was to take up a 
line north to south through Rashid Bek, the Sixth Brigade 
continuing it northwards to El Buggar. Brigade Head- 
quarters was to be at Tel El Itweil and Divisional Head- 
quarters near Esani at 7 a.m. The Worcester Yeomanry 
were to reconnoitre the Wadi Imalaga from Bir El Esani 
to Maalaga. The Brigade marched out at 7 p.m., after 
digging trenches all day, and halted at Goz Mabruk, the 



PALESTINE 153 

Worcester Yeomanry providing advanced guards and out- 
posts. Tel El Itweil was reached at midnight. 

June 1st, 

At 2 a.m. we forded the Wadi Shanag and negotiated 
its precipitous banks with the Gloucesters, the battery 
and Brigade Headquarters remaining at Esani. The 
country on the eastern bank at first was wild and broken, 
but after proceeding for about a mile we found ourselves 
riding through undulating barley fields. We reached 
Rashid Bek, a large stone farm-house overlooking the 
Wadi, soon after dawn. The Sixth Brigade could be heard 
in action on our right, and a little later our outposts 
opened fire on the enemy, who were on the Khabeira 
and Um Ajua hills. Whilst this was going on a recon- 
naissance by the G.O.C. East Force and his Staff was 
proceeding. The enemy did not seem to be very enter- 
prising, but a few were disposed of and some prisoners 
taken. At midday the Warwicks, who had arrived 
from Ghabi, took over our line, and we recrossed the Wadi 
at Esani. As the Gloucesters retired they were followed 
by the enemy, who did not, however, cross the Wadi. 
The Brigade then assembled at Itweil and escorted the guns 
back to Gamli. We heard on arrival that Fritz at his 
usual visit had inflicted very heavy losses on the Bucks 
Yeomanry while watering at Shellal. It was a very un- 
fortunate thing that when regiments were watering at 
the troughs in the Wadi they were absolutely at the mercy 
of enemy aircraft, and the latter knew from observation 
exactly when and where the various Brigades watered. 

June 2nd, 

Daily working parties were sent out to dig trenches 
at Ghabi, which was very strenuous work in the hot 
weather. We found that the slightest scratch from the 
barbed wire caused septic sores, which were often followed 
by serious inflammation. During the next ten days we 
remained at Fara, alternately digging and doing outpost 
duty. 



154 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

June l^th. 

At this time energetic measures were taken to prevent 
the breeding of the mosquitoes in the pools of the Wadi 
Ghuzze. A certain number of men were taken from 
every regiment to work with the Divisional Sanitary 
Section for this purpose. A French *' 75 " battery 
joined us at Sha'uth. In the morning Fritz dropped a note 
offering to fight any five of our aeroplanes, and later on 
he dropped another message saying good-bye, and adding 
that he had come down to the Palestine front for a rest 
cure and was now returning to France. We heard that 
the Turks had been reinforced again, chiefly on account 
of the Russian inactivity in the Caucasus. About this 
date " B " Battery H.A.C. were detached from our 
Brigade, and their place was taken by the Ayrshire R.H.A. 
We were told that our big advance would not take place 
until ten Divisions had been collected on this front. At 
night a concert was given at Divisional Headquarters, 
a good band being supplied by the Fifty-third Division ; 
this was the first band that we had heard in Palestine. 

June lUh. 

Although Fritz had said good-bye on the previous day, 
plenty of his associates continued to pay us daily atten- 
tion at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. In the evening some of our 
officers returned from a reconnaissance in connection 
with future operations, and told us that they had seen 
the Squire of Karm at the head of his troop, and had 
obtained a good view of the Beersheba railway viaduct ; 
it was always considered important by Divisional Head- 
quarters that reports of trains passing over this viaduct 
should be made, and we did our best to see the trains 
as often as possible. 

June 15th. 

We heard to-day for the first time that General Allenby 
had taken over the E.E.F. More French troops arrived, 
and also the Sixtieth Infantry Division, which had come 
from Salonika. 



PALESTINE 155 

June 16th, 

It was said that the " man-power " General had arrived, 
and that after combing out the " indispensables " in 
Cairo and Alexandria, he was about to do the same at the 
base at Kantara ; it was considered by some that he 
should be able to collect at least a Division from that 
place ! The Turks held the Khasif wells during the day, 
and prevented our troops from watering there. It was 
said that the enemy had built a loop line east of the Beer- 
sheba viaduct, as we threatened the latter. A Turkish 
cavalryman captured in the afternoon was well equipped, 
and told us that the three Turkish Cavalry Brigades 
with which we came in daily contact had their head- 
quarters at Hareira, north of Beersheba, and at Khalassa. 

June 17 th. 

At 4 p.m. some of us rode out to see the new observa- 
tion line which we were going to hold during the coming 
week. After crossing at Fara and calling on the Head- 
quarters of the three infantry regiments (Fifty-third 
Division) who were holding the line behind the wire east 
of the Wadi, we rode out over the plain towards Goz El 
Geleib. It was decided that our day observation line 
would be El Dammath, Abu Shawish, Goz El Geleib, Goz 
El Basal, and Goz Mabruk. At night, with the exception 
of a few Cossack posts, we would retire behind the wire 
and then seize the observation post at 3 a.m., displacing 
any Turks who might have arrived there first. In the 
distance we could see the Bedouin getting in their harvest 
at Ifleis, with Turkish patrols guarding them. At dusk 
we returned through the wire and over the Wadi to our 
camp. 

June 18th, 

Arrangements were made with our Field Ambulance 
by which we could have some sand-carts just outside the 
wire during the day and behind it at night. The Wadi 
at this time was strongly fortified, and we had a number 



156 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

of guns in position on both banks. Some anti-aircraft 
guns were also established just behind our camp. In 
the evening " D " Squadron left to take up the night 
outpost line. 



June l^th> 

At 8 a.m. we crossed the Wadi and proceeded to Goz 
El Geleib, the Headquarters of the outpost line. We 
saw our Verey lights go up from Basal and Shawish, 
showing that all was clear at these posts. Reports were 
then received from the other posts on our extended 
9-mile front ; a little opposition was encountered at El 
Dammath, but no casualties were reported during the 
night. One prisoner, on being captured, said : " Oh, you 
are the Worcesters ; I know you well by your flash, and 
fought against you at the first Battle of Gaza, when I was 
wounded." At this time we were leaving leaflets on the 
outpost line written in Turkish, asking the enemy to sur- 
render, and saying what a good time they would have if 
they did so, etc. It seemed rather a degrading thing 
to do, and one was reminded of some of the answers 
which we had received on similar occasions at Gallipoli. 
The prisoner who was captured stated that the enemy 
expected us to attack any day. 

June 2Qth. 

We rode out as usual at 3 a.m., and on arrival at Head- 
quarters on the outpost line heard that one of our posts 
had been rushed on the previous night, when the troop 
was being withdrawn at dusk. Before it was light two 
officers' patrols managed to get down into the Wadi Imleih 
amongst the Turks and collected valuable information. 
While waiting at Goz Geleib we watched one of our troops 
drive the Turks off " tree-post " (Dammath) and finally 
occupy it ; the other posts were easily seized. We were 
warned to look out for a French Spahi deserter who had 
left Khan Yunus and was supposed to have been making 
his way through our lines to the enemy. 



PALESTINE 157 

June 21st, 

Before dawn the Turks were observed on all our posts, 
and a number of small actions took place in order to dis- 
perse them. One of our patrols from Basal advanced 
to Karm, but at Kasif came in contact with strong cavalry 
and infantry detachments and had to withdraw again. 
In the afternoon two sections of our battery were escorted 
to Hill 510, whence the Turks were shelled at 680 ahd at 
the Wadi Imleih crossing. The officer who went to Karm 
found many messages written in charcoal on the walls 
of the White Tower House ; they were all written in per- 
fect English, and told us that if we would surrender we 
would be well looked after, and that their hospitals were 
good ; the messages also stated the number of our Gaza 
casualties, and contained some taunts about our Generals. 
From Goz Geleib we had a good view of the Turkish camps 
north of Beersheba and of the trains passing over the 
viaduct. It was arranged that three parties, each con- 
sisting of one officer and ten other ranks, should make 
their way after dark to the Wadi Imleih and " scupper " 
three outposts some 7 miles from our wire. Soft shoes 
would be worn, and only bayonets and entrenching tools 
were to be taken. At six o'clock our guns were escorted 
back to camp, and a little later the regiment withdrew. I 
remained out on the wire, with some sand-carts, in order 
to look after our raiding party if they required my assist- 
ance. A light was to be shown on Fara in order to guide 
us back through the Cheshire infantry to the Wadi. 

June 22nd. 

At 2 a.m. we received a message that two parties had 
returned safely, and we fell in with the third a little 
later on. The raid had proved fruitless, as the enemy 
outposts had been withdrawn, probably on account of' 
our shelling on the previous day. Patrols, however, 
could not get beyond the enemy's front-line wire, but a 
valuable reconnaissance had been made to Hill 680, which 
was an impossibility during the daylight. Everyone was 



158 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

very tired, as we had had three days and three nights 
practically without any sleep, especially the signallers, 
who had kept up intercommunication the whole time by 
helio, lamp, flag and telephone, between the various 
posts. It was said that the Turks had dropped a mes- 
sage saying that they would cease to bomb us if we 
would also desist, as the war was going to end soon ! 

June 23rd. 

Our General conceived an idea that by carefully throwing 
out a net composed of his Brigade, by night, the former 
might be drawn in at dawn, containing the Turkish patrols 
which were doing the same work as ourselves on their 
outpost line. Accordingly, orders were received for the 
Worcester, Warwick, Gloucester and Bucks Yeomanry 
to take part in this operation on June 25th. 

June 24/^. 

Orders were received for the drive on the morrow. 
The Worcester Yeomanry were to spend the night near 
Maalaga, and then move to Rashid Bek at dawn between 
the Khabeira tracks, proceeding with Bucks Yeomanry 
on the left and the Warwick on the right to the Taweil 
cross-roads. A halt of ten minutes was to be made on the 
Buggar Ridge, and then the force was to sweep on towards 
Karm, joining the Gloucester Yeomanry and the light 
armoured cars, who had been holding the line 550 at El 
Geheir, Imleih, and 720. Brigade Headquarters was 
to be Lakheilat, and prisoners were to be sorted out into 
their respective regiments at Karm at 10 a.m. 

We left camp at 8.30 and rode through Tel El Itweil 
to Imalaga, where we arrived at midnight. On the way 
we saw some large bonfires which the Bedouin had lit 
in order to warn the Turks of our approach. 

June 25th. 

Soon after dawn our force moved north-east, a Dorset 
squadron proceeding to Esani, while we were accom- 




% i 






!• 2 •- • 



PALESTINE 159 

panied by the Bucks and the Warwicks. As we crossed 
the Wadi Imalaga our right flank was attacked from 
Um Ajua, and we could see a troop of enemy cavalry 
retreating over the sky-line above Rashid Bek. After 
crossing the Wadi Esani and leaving Rashid Bek on our 
left, we ascended through Khabeira through most desolate 
country, our rear-guard being engaged from the east and 
using its Hotchkiss guns with some effect. On reaching 
the Buggar Ridge the whole force left- wheeled and advanced 
at a trot with drawn swords, the Warwicks on the right 
having joined up with the armoured cars and the Glouces- 
ters, whose left had been resting on 720 ; the latter had 
joined up with the 4th Australian Light Horse about 
Abu Shawish, and the " net " was thus complete. It 
appeared that the Gloucesters, before joining hands with 
us, had sustained considerable casualties, together with 
the 4th Australian Light Horse, from the Turkish 
guns across the Wadi Hanafish. As we advanced our 
trot became a gallop, and we would no doubt have been 
an inspiring spectacle to any of the enemy who might 
have been caught in our net. When the " net " was 
closed up it was found to contain not a single Turkish 
soldier, as the enemy had evidently got wind of our pro- 
ceedings in the night and had retired on Beersheba before 
the cordon had been completed. One Bedouin boy, 
apparently of very low intellect, was, however, " captured," 
and was handed over with some ceremony by two yeomen 
with drawn swords to Brigade Headquarters at Karm ; 
it was here that we had had orders that the prisoners should 
be sorted out into their respective regiments. The day's 
work was a complete fiasco, but it proved to us that the 
Turk was wide awake, and that on account of friendly 
Bedouin assistance it was difficult to catch him napping. 
On return to camp we said good-bye to the Sixth Mounted 
Brigade, who were leaving our Division in order to join 
the new Yeomanry Mounted Division. Our own Division, 
which up till now had been called the Imperial Mounted 
Division (containing two Yeomanry and two Australian 
Light Horse Brigades), was in future to be called the 



160 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Australian Mounted Division (containing our Yeomanry 
Brigade and two Australian Brigades). 

June 2Qth, 

In the afternoon one of our aeroplanes dropped a 
message saying that three of ours had been shot down or 
forced to descend in No Man's Land, west of Khalassa 
and near Naga El Asseisi, and that they were in need of 
immediate protection, as hostile Bedouin and Turkish 
patrols were approaching them ; we were informed that 
their pilots had made good their escape to one of our 
advanced posts at Basal. The regiment left at 6 p.m. 
and rode 12 miles, as quickly as possible, across country, 
the Bedouin lighting the usual fires on the way, and 
arriving at Asseisi before midnight. Our advance guard 
was fired on, and one of our men had the, up till then, 
unique experience of thrusting his sword through one 
of the enemy at the gallop. 

June 27th. 

We discovered two of our aeroplanes just before dawn, 
and had a fracas with some Bedouin who had already 
partially stripped one of them. At eight o'clock we were 
relieved by some Australian Light Horse regiments, who 
had brought transport in order to remove the remains. 
On our way back we burnt some Bedouin houses and also 
some of their stocks of corn and tibbin, which had been 
placed there for the use of enemy cavalry patrols. We 
much appreciated some large melon gardens which we 
traversed, and everyone tried to balance two or three 
melons, the size of footballs, on the front of their saddles 
and bring them back to camp. 

June 29th. 

During Fritz's usual evening constitutional three of our 
planes attacked him, and it was said that the latter were 
all shot down. It must have been heart-breaking work 
at that time for our aviators to have to fly in such inferior 
machines. 



PALESTINE 161 

June 30th. 

About this time some tents were issued to the A.M.D./ 
but the Yeomanry Brigade got very few. We heard 
that of the seven aeroplanes which went on the Jerusalem 
raid only two had returned safely, and it was said that we 
had lost nine during the last week. 

July IsL 

In the morning the 4th Australian Light Horse 
Regiment brought off a very successful ambush. A 
squadron had proceeded at night to Karm. One troop 
dismounted, and leaving their horses at the latter place, 
advanced about 3 miles on foot and hid themselves 
in one of the ruined houses overlooking the Khasif wells 
before dawn. Soon after dawn the Australians noticed 
two squadrons of enemy cavalry crossing the Buggar 
Ridge and advancing towards the Khasif wells. Some 
Turkish scouts were thrown out ahead to make the ground 
good ; this they did in a somewhat perfunctory manner, 
as they had apparently been doing it daily. One Turkish 
trooper rode up to the house in which the Australians 
were hidden, but did not trouble to enter it, and gave the 
signal " All clear." Thereupon the Turkish squadron 
proceeded to water at the wells ; the Australians, in addi- 
tion to their rifles, had two Hotchkiss guns, and at about 
100 yards' range caused heavy casualties amongst the 
Turks. Directly the firing opened the Australian squadron 
at Karm galloped up with the led horses and joined battle. 
The Turks, however, immediately mounted, and those 
who were left galloped away. As a retaliation, a few 
hours later they attacked one of our outposts, but were 
repulsed. That evening we took over the night outpost 
line again, standing to every morning at 3 a.m. 

July Srd. 

While the Gloucesters were holding the outpost line 
the Worcesters and Warwicks suddenly received orders 
1 Australian Mounted Division. 
11 



162 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

to rendezvous at Gamli at 6 p.m. Destination unknown. 
On arrival we received the following orders : 

Proceed swiftly and silently across country 135° to Khalassa, 
about 16 miles distant. In this place lives a man called Luftie, 
who runs a Turkish Intelligence Bureau, whose agents operate 
between lOialassa and Khan Yunus ; in this way the Turks in 
Beersheba are kept informed of oUr movements and reintbrcements, 
which pass through Khan Yunus station. On arrival a cordon 
will be formed round the village, the Worcesters approaching 
from the west and the Warwicks from the east ; anyone trying 
to escape to be shot, and all males to be taken prisoners. Luftie's 
house is to be demolished by our field troop R.E. 

It was a bright moonlight night, and we were accom- 
panied by one or two Staff officers and an Intelligence 
officer, some native Sinai police, a few " doubtful '* 
Bedouin and an interpreter. 



July Uh, 

After riding over some very rough country our column 
struck the Khalassa-Auja road and telegraph at 1 a.m. 
After about an hour we discovered Khalassa and sur- 
rounded it. A few shots were exchanged as we approached 
the village, and I had one mule shot. The village, how- 
ever, was found to contain only women and children ; 
squadrons were therefore sent out to scour the neigh- 
bouring hills, and brought in some thirty Bedouin at 
dawn. Luftie was not amongst the prisoners, and it 
was probable that ihe succeeded in escaping when we 
reached the Khalassa road ; however quietly a Brigade 
of cavalry advances by night, the native Bedouin knows 
of the enemy's approach long before he arrives. At 
6 a.m. we left with our prisoners and rode to Esani in 
order to water, burning the Bedouin tibbin which had 
been stored for the Turks en route. After leaving Esani 
we rode back to camp, passing through some excellent 
pomegranate and melon fields which were much appre- 
ciated. On arrival at Fara we heard the Beersheba and 
Hareira guns very active, as four Mounted Brigades were 



PALESTINE 163 

making a reconnaissance of the Beersheba defences, 
accompanied by our new Commander-in-Chief. For the 
next two days reveille was at 1 a.m., and the usual out- 
post line was held. We obtained a little sleep when 
coming off the outpost line in the afternoon, but we were 
all very short of rest with reveille at such an early hour. 
One morning, on occupying Goz Geleib, just before dawn, 
we discovered a large bomb placed on the summit ; it 
was a clumsy trap and was a failure from the enemy's 
point of view. 

July 6th. 

At midday we left Fara camp, our Division having 
been relieved by the Anzac Mounted Division, and rode 
through Abasan and Beni Sela, passing on the way a 
picturesque regiment of Spahis, and reached Tel El 
Marakeb at dusk. During the next three weeks we were 
encamped on the shore between Marakeb and the fig 
groves at Belah ; we were very disappointed at having no 
tents, but did the best we could with our little bivouacs. 
Vigorous measures were undertaken to deal with the fly 
trouble, which at this time was becoming very acute. 
A small rest camp was established where officers and 
men suffering from septic sores not sufficiently serious 
to warrant evacuation to the Base were treated. Bathing 
was indulged in to a large extent, but owing to the 
dangerous current which sometimes prevailed and caused 
a certain number of fatalities, men were warned not to 
swim out far. Drafts from England began to arrive, 
and also a number of remounts. " B " Battery, H.A.C., 
gave some excellent Pierrot performances, and boxing 
contests with the Sixth Mounted Brigade took place. 
About this time a Turkish officer captured stated that 
the Germans had insisted that the Turks must assume 
the offensive at once, and that they would be reinforced 
up to twenty Divisions. Our camp was well away from 
enemy gun fire, but from time to time railhead at Belah 
and East Force Headquarters, which was built under the 
cliffs, suffered from the enemy's heavy guns. 



164 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

July 19th. 

During this period of rest the Brigade was pulled out 
once on account of an alarm. It was the end of Ramadan 
and the first day of Bairam. At midday the whole of 
the Fifth and Sixth Brigades were told to saddle up and 
be prepared to move at once. We left camp at 6 p.m., 
rather disgusted at this break in what we considered our 
legitimate rest, while an intense bombardment of Gaza 
was going on away to the north. We heard that the 
Turks were said to have broken through our line at 
Sharta. The Brigade crossed the sandhills and rode 
through Khan Yunus ; the latter was brilliantly lit up, 
and pandemonium reigned amongst the natives. They 
appeared to us to be perfectly mad, and were celebrating 
the end of Ramadan and the first sight of the new moon 
by shrieking, wailing and dancing ; the fast was over 
and the Feast of Bairam had commenced. Searchlights 
from our armoured train increased their excitement, and 
they showed a certain amount of hostility towards us as 
we trotted through the town. We could see the flashes 
of our bombardment over Gaza and Ali Muntar, and could 
hear the machine guns busy. Our destination was K 9 
on the Rafa-Weli Sheikh Nuran line. At midnight we 
arrived with the Sixth Brigade, and found that the Twenty- 
second had gone out to take our place with the Australian 
Mounted Division. We remembered that the Turks had 
made their Romani attack on the same date last year 
for religious reasons. As we lay by our horses various 
units passed by, and the following badinage, typical of 
the British Tommy, struck one as amusing : a company 
of Imperial Camel Corps were riding by, and a sleepy 
orderly at Brigade Headquarters called to a friend, " Hi, 
Bill, here comes the circus," and turning to the nearest 
Camel Corps man, he inquired at what time the elephant 
would be passing. The Camel Corps soldier, with 
withering sarcasm, turned to a group of our yeomen 
and asked them how they would like to be soldiers ! 



PALESTINE 165 

July 20th. 

In spite of uncomfortable rumours during the night, 
we were not called out of reserve. It appeared that 
on the day before three Turkish cavalry regiments had 
advanced over the Buggar Ridge towards the Wadi 
and had then withdrawn, leaving some 5,000 infantry 
and guns in position ; the latter had shelled the Wadi 
and the Gamli railway. It was apparently merely an 
enemy reconnaissance in force. This accounted for the 
alarm and our Brigade's being disturbed from its rest. 
By midday we were allowed to return to Marakeb. 

August 14fth. 

The Brigade started on its march to El Arish, and 
proceeding by the shore route over the ruins of Anthadon, 
reached Rafa at dusk. Here we found a number of 
Indian regiments and also some Italian Bersaglieri. 

August 16th, 

After bivouacking the preceding night at EI Burj, 
the Brigade arrived at El Arish, where we camped about 
3 miles up the Wadi. At this time the heat was 
very great. During the next three and a half weeks we 
remained at El Arish, and occupied a camp vacated by 
the Seventy-fifth Division under the palm-trees on the 
coast. Leave was given to Egypt, and a new rest camp 
was established at Port Said. More remounts were 
received, and the condition of the men and horses con- 
tinued to improve. The rations were much better, being 
on the railway, and we obtained a very plentiful supply 
of quails (caught by the natives in nets), dates, figs and 
fish. Although we were now on the lines of communi- 
cation, we noticed that our right flank was well protected 
by several forts, garrisoned by British West Indian 
troops and some regiments of the Egyptian Army. One 
day we received a warning that a German spy had pene- 
trated our line near Jemmi, and was now amongst us, 
masquerading alternately as an Australian, a member of 
the Egyptian Labour Corps and a Camel Transport driver. 



166 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

September lUh-Octoher 13th. 

As the Seventh Mounted Brigade, which had lately- 
been in Salonika, was moving up to the front line, less 
one regiment, the Derbyshire Yeomanry, the Worcesters 
were temporarily taken out of the Fifth Mounted Brigade 
and were attached to the Seventh. Accordingly, we left 
El Arish at midday and proceeded along the well-known 
route, bivouacking for the night at the usual places. 
The salt lake at Sheikh Zowaid at this time presented 
rather an extraordinary appearance. The surface was 
covered with a sheet of white salt, here and there shaded 
brown, red, pink and yellow, probably on account of 
the presence of iron in the water below ; in some places 
the latter could be seen bright blue in colour, showing 
between the cracks in the salt ice. While walking round 
the lake we put up two foxes, and saw a number of quail 
and duck amongst the green vegetation on its banks. 
It seemed extraordinary that productive fig-trees and 
vines should grow on the very edge of the salt. On 
September 16th we reached Amr and joined the South 
Notts and Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry. On arrival at 
Gamli, two days, later, we camped at Jezaiye, and found 
that many more infantry battalions had arrived during 
our absence at El Arish. We noticed also that Fritz 
was no longer so impudent, and that he respected our 
aeroplanes and anti-aircraft guns. We received a number 
of maps showing the latest Turkish defences of Sheria, 
Hareira and Beersheba, almost entirely produced from 
aeroplane photographs, and inferred that another attack 
on the enemy was impending. It was said that Enver 
Pasha had now arrived on the Palestine front. On 
September 23rd, together with the Essex R.H.A., our 
Brigade took part in one of the usual Divisional recon- 
naissances. On the second day the regiment was in 
reserve at Rashid Bek, and in the morning some of our 
officers reconnoitred the road to Khalassa with a view 
to future operations. In the evening our Brigade rode 
out to cover the retirement of the rest of the Division, 



PALESTINE 167 

our own regiment holding the Hne Wadi Bir Saba-Um 
Ajua-780-Ghalyon with the Essex Battery ; the latter 
shelled the Turks, who reoccupied 970 after the Third and 
Fourth Brigades had retired. We had a fine view of the 
Turkish camps and their trenches before Beersheba, and 
eventually retired with the rest of our Brigade and 
reached Gamli at midnight. For the next few days we 
were holding the usual outpost line, which we now knew 
so well ; the latter was rather unpleasant in certain 
places, on account of the number of horses which had 
been killed, chiefly by Fritz, during the past month. On 
one occasion a troop was holding an outpost beyond 
Basal, when our regimental dog, " Warpaint," ran out 
in front into No Man's Land and was shot at by the 
Turks. Although he was not hit he seemed aware of 
his danger, and made the best of his way back to us as 
quickly as possible ; from that day he became a most 
arrant coward, and absolutely refused to accompany the 
regiment when it was going into action. On September 
29th the regiment on duty for the day was heavily 
attacked at 680 and Khasif, and we, with the Sherwood 
Rangers and the battery, were ordered out to reinforce 
them. The enemy was eventually successfully dispersed, 
but owing to their having moved some of their guns 
further forward, their H.E. was rather unpleasant. It 
appeared that they had got a new Cavalry Brigade 
opposite us who wore a green uniform. Accordingly, 
orders were received to capture a specimen, alive or dead, 
for identification purposes ; the Intelligence people were 
anxious to know whence this Brigade had arrived. The 
following day we saw 200 of these horsemen on the 
Buggar Ridge, but were unable to capture any. On 
October 2nd another large Divisional reconnaissance 
was carried out, and it was evident that the Higher Com- 
mand were personally seeing as much as they could of 
the country around Beersheba before the coming attack. 
During this reconnaissance one squadron reached Itwail 
Semin, a place actually south-east of Beersheba. On 
the following day we left the Seventh Mounted Brigade 



168 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

and were joined again by the Warwicks and Gloucesters. 
We received a new interpreter, who did not appear to 
be very much use, as he knew no Turkish, merely Arabic. 
At this time we used to leave more pamphlets on the 
outpost line for the Turks to pick up ; these contained 
pictures of (1) three Turks surrendering to a British 
soldier ; (2) Turks eating bully beef and bread and jam ; 
(3) Turks being offered cigarettes by a smiling Tommy ; 
and (4) living in comfort in the P. of W. Camp at Cairo. 
Each of these pictures had an appropriate explanation 
underneath, written in Turkish. One evening we prac- 
tised with the new red flares in order to be able to com- 
municate with aeroplanes at night. On October 8th 
we saw a particularly good fight between two of our 
and two enemy aeroplanes. One Fritz was disabled and 
came down between the Wadi and Basal. On bringing 
him in, he told us that he had been in Palestine and Meso- 
potamia for three years, without any leave, and was the 
following week to have gone on leave to Berlin. Appar- 
ently he was taken unawares, and did not know that we 
now had first-class aeroplanes on this front. At this 
time dust-storms, which used to get up every afternoon, 
were very trying. During this period we received many 
warnings about spies, especially regarding one individual 
who had successfully posed as an inspector of Army 
and Navy canteens, dressed as an officer, riding a bay 
horse (without brand) and calling himself Schofield. 
On October 11th two officers made their way through 
our Brigade outpost line at dawn, telling the officer in 
charge that they came from the Fifty-third Division and 
were arranging about artillery practice ; it eventually 
turned out that the " officers " were not known to the 
Division and had probably got through some nights 
before, and used this ruse in order to return to the 
Turkish lines. 

October lUh. 

In the morning, while on the outpost line, a corporal 
and two men v/ere captured by the enemy on Hill 720, 



PALESTINE 169 

who put out a cavalryman as a bait and then ambushed 
our yeomen. The regiment concerned determined to get 
their own back when the opportunity should occur. 

October 15th. 

The enemy were now getting more active on the out- 
post line, and evidently resented the way our railway 
from Weli Sheikh Nuran, which had now crossed the 
Wadi at Shellal, was progressing across the plain towards 
Karm. Our regiment experienced some difficulty in 
dislodging them from the heights above the Wadi Imleih, 
on account of their artillery fire, and in the afternoon 
it was necessary to call on our battery, machine-gun 
squadron and four armoured cars to assist us ; the cars, 
moving swiftly over down-like terrain, returned undamaged 
after doing a valuable reconnaissance ; we had a few 
horses hit, but no serious casualties. 

October leth. 

At dawn the regiment which had had three men cap- 
tured two days previouslj^ got their own back on the 
Turks. At 2 a.m. an officer and ten men, under cover 
of darkness, occupied the stone hut on Hill 720, having 
previously left their horses some 3 miles away at 
Karm. At 7 a.m. an enemy troop rode up the hill, and 
the yeomen, opening fire, accounted for some and took 
a few prisoners. One of the latter, a squadron-sergeant- 
major, stated that they knew exactly where and when 
we should attack, and also told us that the famous 
" Thunder Division " had been moved down from Aleppo 
in order to prevent us getting through on the Beersheba 
sector. 

October ISth, 

Soon after dawn another reconnaissance in force by 
our Division took place, our line being advanced beyond 
Ifleis and El Gehier, in order that the Staff might obtain 
a nearer view of the Beersheba defences. Again we 
experienced considerable difficulty in dislodging the enemy 



170 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

from various points, and our battery had to be called 
on to drive them out of the Ifleis chapel. The Turkish 
guns from the neighbourhood of Irgeig, near the railway- 
viaduct, were particularly troublesome. On returning to 
camp we received some preliminary instructions with 
respect to " Z " day, and realized that our big attack 
would not be long delayed. 

October 2Srd-27th. 

At dawn, owing to the pertinacity of the enemy, the 
section of the outpost line usually held by the Worcester 
Yeomanry was held by the whole Fifth Mounted Brigade. 
Our railway, which was being built and protected by 
the Sikh Pioneers, had now reached Karm, to which 
place the pipe and telegraph wire had also been brought. 
At midday the Gloucester Yeomanry were attacked on 
620 by four squadrons of Turks with motor-cars ; the 
enemy were, however, driven off after they had inflicted 
a certain number of casualties. In the afternoon our 
battery was called on again, and, galloping into action, 
drove the Turks across the Wadi Ifleis. On returning to 
camp we received the latest Intelligence in the form 
of a small pamphlet on Napoleon's Syrian Campaign ! 
During the next few days the enemy became more and 
more aggressive, and on October 27th attacked our 
new railway from the Buggar Ridge to Hill 510 ; they 
were eventually driven back by a brigade from the Yeo- 
manry Division, assisted by an Australian Light Horse 
Brigade. One squadron of a London yeomanry regiment 
behaved most heroically, defending a hill until they were 
relieved, after they had been almost wiped out, the Major 
commanding eventually receiving a posthumous V.C. 
While this fighting was in progress, our Brigade, with 
the rest of the Australian Mounted Division and the 
Anzac Mounted Division, was preparing to march south, 
the Fifty-third Infantry Division marching out to re- 
inforce the mounted troops on the outpost line. Medical 
Corps orders were received for the approaching opera- 
tions, and amongst other things we learnt that the Desert 



PALESTINE 171 

Mounted Corps " receiving stations " would on the 
morrow be as follows : 

Anzac Mounted Division — Rashid Bek. 
Australian Mounted Division — Asluj. 
Yeomanry Division — Shellal. 

In the evening our Brigade marched out, picketing the 
road north of Esani, to Ghalyun, via Maalaga. 

October 28th, 

At dawn our three regiments relieved the Imperial 
Camel Corps on the sector Khalassa-Ghalyun-Maalaga- 
Abushar, the enemy being in considerable force opposite 
us at Ibn Said. Water was developed at Bir Abu Ghalyun 
and Brigade Headquarters was established outside Khal- 
assa. At sunset we were joined by a battalion from the 
Sixtieth Infantry Division, and a Brigade-Major from the 
Anzac Mounted Division told us that the water at Asluj had 
given out — ^we realized that if this could not be remedied, 
the attack of the two Mounted Divisions would be jeo- 
pardized, as it was essential that we should have a good 
watering area at Asluj for the six Brigades of cavalry 
before the attack on Beersheba from the south-east, east 
and north-east could mature. The Turks, by destroying 
the water supply at Asluj, thought that an attack by us 
on Beersheba from the east was impossible. 

October 29th, 

The Brigade rode to Khalassa at dawn, leaving a 
squadron at Hill 970 in order to watch Ibn Said ; the 
former, said to have been an ancient Christian town of 
some importance, was now a mass of ruins. At night 
we held the heights to the north-east without anything 
of importance occurring ; it was brilliant moonlight, and 
a number of tumuli, which had evidently never been 
opened, made one long for a stay of a few days in this 
locality in order to excavate their interiors. 



172 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

October SOth. 

There was a good deal of aerial activity during the 
day, and as soon as darkness came on our Division, pre- 
ceded by the Anzac Mounted Division, commenced to 
march to Asluj. En route we passed the ruins of Khal- 
assa and the Turkish wells in that place, which our R.E. 
had just opened up again. After a monotonous ride over 
very rough and stony ground, we entered the large defile 
which led into the Wadi Asluj. Asluj was reached at 
midnight ; this place was situated on level hard ground 
in a very wide part of the Wadi, flanked on either side 
by precipitous cliffs. It consisted of a number of houses 
with barracks, officers' mess, store-houses, bakeries, 
cavalry stables, waterworks and stone watering troughs 
half a mile in length. There was also a picturesque 
mosque which, with the other snow-white buildings, 
looked very striking in the brilliant full moonlight. The 
whole impression was somewhat artificial, and reminded 
one of the stage or an exhibition. Asluj in peace-time 
evidently maintained a small garrison, since increased 
during the attack on the Sinai Peninsula. One large 
building was taken over for the Australian Mounted 
Division Receiving Station, and another contained a 
detachment of the Sheriff of Mecca's soldiers, who had 
apparently brought their women and children with them. 
The waterworks, although entirely destroyed by Turkish 
high explosives, were through the indomitable perse- 
verance of our engineers put in order sufficiently to water 
the two Divisions. 



Battle of Beersheba. 
October Slst, 

At 1 a.m. we heard our infantry attacking Beersheba 
north of Khalassa, and an hour later we rode out, passing 
the railway station and the remains of the viaduct which 
we had destroyed last June. This was the railway which 
used to run from Beersheba to Auja, whence a motor 



PALESTINE 178 

road led to the Maghara hills. A very long march, 
ascending the whole way over moor-like country east 
of Itwail El Semin and Ras Ghannam, brought us to 
the heights of Iswaiwin (1450), which overlooked the 
Beersheba plain. The distance we had come from 
Khalassa, including an hour's halt at Asluj, was 33 
miles. The battle had now commenced: the Twentieth 
Infantry Corps attacked Beersheba from the west, while 
the Anzac Mounted Division and Australian Mounted 
Division, together with the Camel Corps, attacked from 
the east, with the Seventh Brigade communicating to 
the south. Collecting Stations had been established at 
El Semin and Iswaiwin, with Receiving Stations at Asluj 
and Rashid Bek. Our Brigade was in Corps reserve 
behind Iswaiwin, and during the day only suffered casual- 
ties from aeroplane attacks. From Brigade Headquarters 
a wonderful panoramic view of the battle lay beneath us : 
a few miles away lay the picturesque town of Beersheba, 
the most striking feature of which was its large mosque, 
surrounded by cypress-trees ; we could see the Wadi 
Saba spanned by a fine viaduct and the continuation of 
the railway to the north-west. It seemed strange that 
we could now obtain such a fine view of this town, which 
for the last six months we had been trying to see from 
the west. We could see the explosions caused by our 
guns from Karm and the Buggar Ridge occurring on 
the outskirts of Beersheba on the west. The batteries 
of Desert Mounted Corps were active from the east, 
south-east and north-east. At midday the New Zealand 
Mounted Brigade had captured the important height of 
Tel El Saba, to our north, and the various mounted units 
were gradually advancing on the town. A little later, 
the Seventh Mounted Brigade, advancing from the south, 
galloped the trenches at Ras Ghannam and thus opened 
up the road from Khalassa to Beersheba. Although the 
infantry were now closing in from the west and the 
cavalry from the east, the garrison of Beersheba, which 
had remained after the last train had left for the north, 
appeared to be going to make a very stubborn resist- 



174 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

ance ; however, about 5 p.m. the 4th Austrahan Light 
Horse, in the fading hght, galloped the trenches just out- 
side the town and broke the resistance of the enemy. 
This was a brilliant piece of work, and the Australians 
had heavy casualties, as some of the trenches were too 
broad to jump, many being killed in this way ; however, 
the rest swept on and finished up with a successful dis- 
mounted bayonet attack. Unfortunately, some of our 
batteries were not aware that the Australians had entered 
the town, and continued to shell it for a time. At dusk 
the last two enemy aeroplanes left Beersheba, and flying 
so low that we thought they must almost touch us, dropped 
bombs and caused many casualties to our Fifth Mounted 
Brigade Transport Column. Meanwhile the Twentieth 
Infantry Corps from the west had consolidated and cap- 
tured many more prisoners, including one trainful which 
was about to start. The Australians in their charge 
were said to have captured a large number of men and 
field guns. It was now dark, and after watering in some 
muddy pools at Hamam, we rode down to Beersheba and 
bivouacked just outside the town, after passing our newly 
established Collecting Station at Khashim Zanna. 

November 1st, 

After a cold night we woke up outside the town and 
moved down to the Wadi Saba in order to avoid the 
enemy's guns from the north. On the opposite side of 
the Wadi we found the Turkish cavalry stables, which 
contained useful fodder and equipment. A little water 
was found in the Wadi, but there was some shortage, 
owing to the fact that Abraham's original seven wells 
(Bir Saba), in the centre of the town, after having been 
blown in by the departing Turks, had not yet been re- 
paired. During the morning the Fifty-third Division, an 
Anzac Brigade and the Imperial Camel Corps took the 
enemy's positions at Abu Irgeig, where a large railway 
viaduct had been demolished, Muweileh and Makruneh, 
with many more prisoners, rolling stock and guns. We 
rode into the town and saw the railway station and one 



PALESTINE 175 

railway train which had been unable to escape. The 
hospital, Governor's house and chief mosque were im- 
posing buildings. Some of the houses and factories, and 
especially the waterworks, had been blown up by the 
Turks, and the ground was strewn with corpses and dead 
horses. A few of the usual traps had been laid, but our 
men were by this time on the look-out for this sort of 
thing. The honour of the Battle of Beersheba evidently 
lay with the 4th Australian light Horse, as after the 
Desert Mounted Corps and Twentieth Corps had subdued 
the outer defences of the town, the garrison might have 
held out for some time, had not the 4th galloped the 
town in the evening. We saw evidence of the bitter 
fighting they had had before they eventually succeeded 
in gaining an entrance. In the evening some enemy 
aeroplanes hovered over their former home and dropped 
the usual bombs. 

November 2nd, 

In the morning an officers' reconnaissance took place 
to Barghut, in which direction we expected shortly to 
advance. We began to wish that our anti-aircraft guns 
would arrive soon, as Fritz was again very spiteful. 
Transport now began to arrive from the south, as the 
Khalassa road was now open. We also received supplies 
from railhead, as the Fara-Beersheba road over the 
Buggar Ridge was now practicable. In the afternoon 
many more prisoners were rounded up and brought into 
camp. When night fell we had a very bad doing from 
Fritz, who dropped a hundred bombs and caused a large 
number of casualties in our Field Ambulances. We were 
informed that two Brigades of the Anzac Division were 
holding the line Bir Arara, Wadi Malah, and Wadi Hora 
east of Beersheba, that the Imperial Camel Corps were 
near Tel El Khuweilfeh, and that the Seventh Mounted 
Brigade were at Towal Abu Jerwal, the two last-named 
places being 10 and 8 miles north-east of Beersheba. 
The Fifth Mounted Brigade was taken out of its own 
Division and placed at the disposal of the G.O.C. Anzac 



176 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Mounted Division, and warned to be ready to move any 
time after midnight. 



The Battle of Ras El Nag. 

November Srd. 

At 8 a.m. our Brigade marched out from Beersheba 
(suffering the usual casualties from enemy aircraft), and 
crossed the Hebron road near Tel El Saba, arriving at 
Rjm Abu Jerwan at 10.30 a.m. The road was a fair 
one, and the ground rose the whole way. We passed 
numerous ammunition columns and infantry on the 
march. It was evident that we were in for some new 
adventure. To the north we could hear heavy firing 
and could see the shells exploding ; we received orders 
to trot on for 2 miles, and then came across battalions 
of infantry in reserve and four field batteries in line, 
hard at work. The objective appeared to be Tel El 
Khuweilfeh, a high and strong position, jealously guarded 
by the Turks, as it commanded the water supply of the 
region and also the road to Hebron. Any force operating 
against this place from the south was forced to water 
at Beersheba, some 10 miles away. An Infantry Division 
was attacking Khuweilfeh from the south-west, while 
the First and Second Australian Light Horse Brigades 
were holding the salient to the east, which ended in a 
hill called Ras El Nag (2023). We halted near Mikreh 
and were ordered to gallop 2 J miles along the front of 
the Turkish position in order to reach the two narrow 
defiles which led up to Ras El Nag. The Brigade 
started at a trot and then broke into a gallop as the 
Turkish fire became severe. We could see the enemy 
snipers lying out in the open a few hundred yards 
away on our left. Here and there a man or a horse 
was hit and came down. The bullets churned up the 
ground under our horses' feet and continually sang in 
our ears. We had to stop two or three times in the 
middle of this gallop, and taking cover behind some 
rocks, picked up the wounded and then followed the 



PALESTINE 177 

4 

regiment. Eventually the entrance to the Wadi Um 
Sirah was reached, where it was possible to give more 
attention to our casualties ; here, however, we were 
followed by the fire from the enemy's guns as we 
ascended the valley. At the end of this valley Brigade 
Headquarters was established, and crossing to the next 
valley, that of the Wadi El Sultan, we established 
a dressing station for those wounded who had arrived 
by a different route. These two Wadis, both of which 
debouched into the plain opposite the Turkish main 
position, were separated by a precipitous ridge and met 
towards the summit of Ras El Nag. Our Brigade now 
relieved the 1st Australian Light Horse, who it appeared 
had suffered considerably, while the 2nd Australian 
Light Horse continued to hold the hills to the east of 
our position. While we were busy attending to cases 
in the Wadi El Sultan we suffered from well-directed 
shelling, which accounted for both men and horses. 
Leaving the latter in the Wadi, the regiment now dis- 
posed itself on the heights and displaced the Turks from 
the Nag road ; here we found the remains of a small 
Turkish ammunition column, several mountain gun posi- 
tions, a few dead Turks and a Red Crescent ambulance 
waggon ; the latter we made use of, and, with the aid of 
some ponies, managed to transfer our wounded from 
the higher ground to the head of the valley in which was 
established our dressing station. It struck me as extra- 
ordinary that in one of the evacuated enemy gun posi- 
tions I should find Dickens's Bomhey and Son lying open 
on the ground ; one somehow could not associate a 
Turkish gunner with Dickens, but of course one knew 
that a large number of Turks had been in America and 
could speak English. It seemed, however, a curious 
book to be reading during such exciting times ; possibly 
the reader had been one of the dead Turks lying near. 
The enemy shelling from the south-west, west and north 
was very troublesome during the afternoon, but ceased 
at dusk. At 11 p.m. one of our R.A.M.C. corporals 
managed to bring the water-cart in the dark from Mikreh 

12 



178 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

along the front of the Turkish positions into the Wadi 
Sultan. It was a great performance, as the country 
was very difficult to cross in the dark and the entrance 
to our Wadi was only a few hundred yards from the 
Turkish trenches. We issued the water to the men, who 
had had none since dawn, and who had been in the saddle 
or fighting all day. Meanwhile our wounded, which 
included a number of Australians, had accumulated. 
We could not evacuate them down the Wadi, as this at 
one spot was too narrow to admit our Field Ambulance 
carts. After a consultation we decided that the only 
way was to carry the stretchers up the precipitous rocky 
hill and down again into the Wadi Um Sirah, which 
admitted wheeled transport at its lower end. Calling 
for a party of forty-eight bearers from the regiment, we 
commenced, by means of relays, to carry the wounded 
over the ridge and down into the second Wadi. It was 
essential to complete the work before dawn, as no man 
could have lived on the top of the ridge by daylight, as 
the latter was in full view of the Turks a few hundred 
yards away. 

November Uh. 

Our men worked hard, but it was killing work, owing 
to the steep ascent and descent. However, the task was 
completed before 6 a.m., and the cases were evacuated 
by Field Ambulance carts to the New Zealand Field 
Ambulance at Mikreh, six mules being killed en route 
and one ambulance completely smashed by a shell. 
During the morning the Regimental Dressing Station was 
established under some Turkish waggons just below the 
summit of Ras El Nag, and we were kept busy. The 
regiment were holding the crest of the hill, taking cover 
behind the very large boulders which abounded. The 
enemy rifle fire and shelling never ceased all day, and 
the men suffered terribly from thirst, especially those 
who had had their water-bottles pierced by bullets. At 
midday an enemy cavalry regiment was seen to be 
advancing on us from the north-west under cover of 



PALESTINE 179 

their own guns — the whole Brigade was ordered up at 
once and repelled the advance. During the afternoon 
things quietened down for a time, but at 4 p.m. Turkish 
infantry (with reserves from Hareira, whose dust we had 
seen approaching for some time) counter-attacked in 
force, getting up under cover of the boulders to within 
80 yards of our front line ; they fixed bayonets with 
a shout and came on with a rush — it was an exciting 
moment. Our fire, however, from rifle, machine gun 
and Hotchkiss checked them just in time and rolled 
them back. It was evident after this that the enemy 
had been again reinforced, as attacks were made all 
along our line. They evidently considered the salient 
of Ras El Nag of vital importance to themselves, as it 
commanded their left flank and also the road from 
Khuweilfeh to Hebron via Dhaheriyeh, where they had 
large depots. At 9 p.m. a New Zealand Brigade arrived, 
having left their horses with ours in the Wadi, in order 
to relieve us. Our CO. explained the situation to them, 
and warned them that another counter-attack was pro- 
bably maturing. (This proved true, as a few hours after 
we had left the Turks attacked in force, but were repulsed 
after a New Zealand regiment had suffered 100 casual- 
ties.) We now had a large number of wounded, and 
the question arose as to how they should be carried down 
into the plain. After burying our dead, we organized 
a bearer party of eighty men, and with the CO. leading, 
carried the wounded in blankets over ground in some 
places almost precipitous, a distance of 3 miles to a 
point in the Wadi Sultan where carts could penetrate. 
The lightly wounded men we mounted on horses, and 
all the stretcher cases were left in charge of a few orderlies 
at the mouth of the valley, to be picked up by an officer 
with a section of the Field Ambulance during the night. 
Our CO. then led the Brigade out into the plain across 
which we had galloped the day before ; although it was 
dark, the enemy on Khuweilfeh learned of our approach 
and sent up star-shells, which were immediately followed 
by rifle fire. Luckily, the dust which we raised obscured 



180 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

us to a certain extent, but we could see the sparks flying 
as the bullets struck the stones in our vicinity. A little 
further on a battery " reached " for us, but we managed 
to escape with little harm to the Brigade. On leaving 
this danger zone, we dropped into a walk after reaching 
Mikreh. About 4 miles down the Hebron-Beer sheba 
road we came across the Australian Mounted Division 
Collecting Station, where we deposited the wounded we 
had been carrying with us on our horses. In conver- 
sation with some Australians, we heard that the Ras El 
Nag position was a regular trap, as, in order to enter 
the Wadis which approached it or leave them, one was 
exposed to Turkish fire from three directions for about 
3 miles ; however, this salient had to be held by a 
Mounted Brigade, as it commanded the enemy's main 
communications . 

November 5th, 

At 4 a.m. we reached our camp at Beersheba, the 
horses having been without water for about forty-eight 
hours and the men having had almost forty hours' con- 
tinuous fighting and the rest of the time in the saddle. 
The horses, on scenting the water, although tired out, 
made a rush for the troughs, and many of the men, 
oblivious of previous orders, could not resist plunging 
their heads into the horse-troughs. Our wounded were 
evacuated from the Collecting Station on the Hebron 
road to the Australian Mounted Division Receiving 
Station in the German hospital at Beersheba, whence 
they were conveyed by motor-ambulance to Karm and 
subsequently to railhead. In the afternoon we visited 
our wounded in the town hospital, and met the Yeo- 
manry Division, which had just entered the town from 
the west and were about to move out at midnight. 

November 6th. 

We heard that the Twentieth Corps had attacked and 
taken Khuweilfeh, but that the Ras El Nag position 
was held on one side by the enemy. The New Zealand 



PALESTINE 181 

Brigade, which had relieved us, was heavily attacked 
after we left and had sustained numerous casualties. 
We were kept in readiness all day to move up again at 
an hour's notice. In the afternoon the Turks counter- 
attacked the Imperial Camel Corps, who had relieved 
the New Zealanders at Ras El Nag, three times, but were 
driven back after bitter fighting at the point of the 
bayonet. It was evident that the enemy still considered 
this position of vital importance, although the main 
position at Khuweilfeh had already fallen. In the evening 
our Machine Gun Squadron and a squadron of the Warwick- 
shire Yeomanry were sent up to assist the Imperial Camel 
Corps. The Turks, it was stated, had received large 
reinforcements on their right, which had previously been 
waiting at Aleppo, destined for either Palestine or Meso- 
potamia. Late at night we heard the good news that 
the Sixtieth and Seventy-fourth Divisions had captured 
all their objectives, and that the enemy had evacuated 
Tel El Sheria and Hareira. Our regiment was warned 
to be ready to move between midnight and dawn. 

November 7th, 

At 2 a.m. the whole Brigade marched out along the 
Beersheba railway line to Abu Irgeig, and thence on to 
Tel El Sheria, where we saw the works and camps cap- 
tured by the infantry on the previous day. Numerous 
wounded were still being evacuated towards Karm, 
When day broke, we rode through many infantry bat- 
talions and trotted down to the Wadi Sheria ; here we 
took cover while the Turkish guns were shelling us, one of 
our batteries in the Wadi on our left suffering severely and 
losing fifteen horses at one moment. Later, we advanced, 
now again over down-like country, to Khirbit Barata, 
where the sheHing got rather worse but ceased at dusk. 
It appeared that a number of enemy batteries after the 
fall of Sheria and Hareira had retreated northwards, and 
being mobile, were endeavouring to hold up the advance 
of the Infantry Divisions. After dusk we were told 
that what appeared to us a mad scheme had been for- 



182 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

mulated, namely, that we should ascertain the position 
of these batteries and charge them in the pitch darkness. 
For two hours we wandered about, probably at one time 
behind the enemy's outposts, but luckily for all con- 
cerned we did not bump into the batteries. At ten 
o'clock we were ordered to withdraw back to the infantry 
line and water at Sheria near the demolished railway 
viaduct, which was surrounded by dead horses from 
our batteries which had been in action there. We were 
now in the positions which we had often looked at from 
the old outpost line before Fara, but unfortunately, on 
account of the darkness, we were unable to satisfy our 
curiosity. We did, however, come across the light rail- 
way which carried the big gun which used to shell us as 
far back as the first Battle of Gaza. 



The Charge at Huj. 
November 8th. 

At 6 a.m., after a very short and cold night's rest, we 
left Sheria and rode through Barata in order to attack the 
Turks, who were fighting a rear -guard action, with the 
Sixtieth Division on our left and the Third Australian Light 
Horse Brigade on our right. We learned later that a new 
Brigadier had been appointed to command us, but at the 
time we appeared to be without a Brigade Commander. 
Our first objective was Zuheilika, which we had attacked 
during the first Battle of Gaza. The batteries from which 
the Sixtieth Division and ourselves had suffered on the 
previous day retired, covered by about 2,000 infantry, 
and shelled us heavily again. At Juaithim we came 
across much abandoned material and many wounded 
Turks. For some reason or other we were not supported 
by our own artillery, and the enemy gunners, although 
retiring, had it pretty well their own way ; their infantry, 
however, who were covering the retreating batteries, 
for the time being engaged all our attention. After 
advancing about 4 miles, our " D " Squadron and a 
squadron of the Warwicks were dispatched to the Sixtieth 



PALESTINE 183 

Division on our left. The Gloucestershire Yeomanry- 
were now on our right, and we kept advancing by 
" bounds," galloping from one ridge to another, each 
of which we held successively, and gradually forced the 
enemy back ; they made determined stands at the above- 
mentioned places and also at Baghl. We had now 
advanced about 10 miles, and could hear from the ex- 
plosions of the shells that we were rapidly gaining on 
the guns. The Sixtieth Division, on slightly lower ground, 
we could see advancing in extended order and suffering 
very much from the enemy's shelling. An urgent request 
was sent for our Ambulance, as we recognized that in 
a short time we should be having heavy casualties ; as 
it was, we left our wounded, if unable to ride, here and 
there in charge of one man, as it was known that the 
rest of our Brigade and other regiments were following 
in our tracks. The ground was strewn with dead Turks 
and the material they had abandoned in their haste — 
shells, gun limbers, equipment, ammunition waggons, etc. 
It was noticeable how during this retreat they had com- 
menced by throwing away merely the old shell-cases, and 
gradually, as time went on and they were more pressed, 
more and more important equipment was abandoned in 
order to make their retreat easier. As we had had no 
water since the previous night the men were parched, 
but some of the small water-barrels usually carried by 
Turkish transport, which were found abandoned, were 
a Godsend. Meanwhile, we were getting nearer and 
nearer to the enemy's guns, and as our advance over 
the dry turf caused clouds of dust, his gunners paid us 
more attention. We noticed an explosion taking place 
a couple of miles away on our right, which was followed 
by tremendous clouds of smoke ; this turned out to be 
due to the destruction of the enemy's ammunition dumps 
at Jemmamah. Soon after midday we found ourselves 
east of Huj, and a message was sent to the Third Aus- 
tralian Light Horse Brigade asking them to co-operate 
with us in charging the guns. While this message was 
being taken, our two squadrons of Worcesters and one 



184 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

of Warwicks (the whole only ten troops strong), who were 
now in advance of the Gloucester Yeomanry, Third 
Australian Light Horse Brigade and the Sixtieth Division 
(who were on our left), received orders from the G.O.C. 
of the latter division to charge. At the moment we were 
dismounted, giving our horses a breather and attending 
to some of our recently wounded behind a slight ridge. 
Our Second-in-Command gave the order to mount, and 
called out, " Now then, boys, for the guns ! " Away they 
galloped, and the moment they appeared over the crest 
of the ridge, 200 yards from the batteries, the gun fire 
became terrific, accompanied by rifle and machine gun 
fire from some 2,000 Turkish infantry who were protecting 
the guns. My orderlies and I followed in the rear, almost 
unconscious of what was happening, on account of the 
deafening noise as we galloped down the grassy slope ; 
the enemy gunners had shortened their fuses as the yeo- 
manry came in sight, and were now banging away as 
fast as they could, the shrapnel apparently bursting on 
the ground instead of some thirty feet above it. The 
Worcester and Warwick squadrons, already thinned out by 
casualties, swept on, and topping a rise, charged through 
the infantry screen and were lost to view. Suddenly the 
terrific din of shrieking and exploding shells ceased, and 
we knew that the end had come. A wonderful and terrible 
sight met our view : in addition to the casualties which 
had already occurred, the ground was strewn with horses 
and fallen yeomen, many of whom were lying close to, 
and some beyond, the batteries. Twelve guns, three 
5*9's and nine field guns, were in various positions, sur- 
rounded by Austrian and German gunners, many of 
whom were dead or wounded. About 300 yards behind 
the rearmost battery a mass of enemy infantry were 
retreating, a few of whom were still firing occasional 
shots from various directions. Our squadrons had not 
fired a shot, and every single casualty we inflicted was 
caused by our sword -thrusts. Our Second-in-Command 
had fallen wounded under a gun, and was on the point 
of being dispatched by a gunner with his saw-bayonet, 



PALESTINE 185 

when a yeoman from the former's old squadron killed 
the Austrian. The German and Austrian gunners fought 
gamely round their guns when cornered, for a few moments, 
although the mass of the Turkish infantry had broken. 
Some enemy machine guns were seized and turned on 
the latter. Of the three squadron leaders (two Wor- 
cesters and one Warwick) in the charge, one was killed 
and two died of wounds. On that day there fell, amongst 
others, an officer of the Worcester Yeomanry who was 
most dearly loved by us all, and his death, together with 
the loss of so many gallant comrades, cast a gloom on 
the regiment, in spite of the everlasting laurels it had 
won. The Warwickshire Yeomanry also, amongst their 
killed, lost some of their best. 

We commenced to dress the wounded at once, and 
found them scattered in all directions. Wounded Turks 
came crawling in, and one could not help contrasting 
their clean wounds, caused by our sword-thrusts, with 
the ghastly wounds sustained by our men from shell fire 
and saw-bayonet. Part of a Turko-German Field Am- 
bulance, which had been unable to escape, was found in 
a hollow behind the batteries, and their equipment was 
invaluable to us, as our dressings soon ran out and our 
Field Ambulance had not yet arrived ; the Turkish 
orderlies were put to work amongst their own men, and 
the intelligent German sergeants proved quite useful. 
Our little force after the charge was now scattered and 
very weak, on account of the heavy losses it had sus- 
tained, and one could not help wondering whether the 
Turkish infantry, who had retired only a short distance, 
would not counter-attack when they saw that we had 
no supports. However, the enemy had apparently had 
enough of it, but one was relieved when the first regiment 
of the Sixtieth Division joined us ; the latter were quickly 
followed by an infantry Field Ambulance from the same 
Division, a few of whose bearers had been already on 
the scene. Our new General, only appointed that morn- 
ing to command our Brigade, rode up and congratulated 
it. It seemed an auspicious occasion to take over a new 



186 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

command, with the twelve guns captured by his regi- 
ments in the background as a recommendation of their 
prowess. When night fell we bivouacked near the 
batteries and ate our evening meal, there being only- 
eight officers left in the regiment — some were killed, 
some wounded, and others had been casualties during 
the last ten days. Late at night we received a message 
saying that the Worcesters and Warwicks had received 
the personal congratulations from the Commander-in- 
Chief on their brilliant action, and stating that they had 
upheld the best traditions of the British cavalry. 

November 9th. 

During the previous night our " A " echelon transport 
arrived, together with a welcome supply of drinking 
water. At dawn some of the oxen which had been 
drawing the German 5*9's were slaughtered, and we 
looked forward to some fresh but tough meat. News 
arrived that Gaza had really fallen, and that the Fifty- 
second Division were advancing along the sea-coast. 
From the debris left round the Huj guns we were able 
to collect some useful equipment, especially Turkish 
leather saddle-bags and water-barrels. Our horses, which 
had had no water since the evening of November 7th 
at Sheria, now had to go 10 miles to reach a suitable 
watering place, and did not return till 5 p.m., as the 
whole of the horses of the Australian Mounted Division 
had been taken to the same spot. At sunset thirty-one 
of our aeroplanes flew over, all loaded with bombs, evi- 
dently about to harass the retreating enemy. Just before 
midnight the Brigade marched, passing Huj station in 
the dark. We were glad to be on the move, as one did 
not relish another day in the proximity of so many dead 
horses. 

November 10th. 

As dawn began to break, we found ourselves riding 
over undulating country, which supported large flocks 
of sheep and goats. Here and there were to be seen 



PALESTINE 187 

the low black tents of the nomad Bedouin ; the latter 
did not appear to be in the least disconcerted by our 
presence, although some of us enjoyed roast lamb the 
following night. The Wadi Hesi, fringed by rushes 
beneath Tel El Hesi, proved a good watering place. 
After a cold night in the saddle our fires had just been 
lit, and everyone was looking forward to some tea, when 
the usual order to move at once was received. We rode 
out with our battery to Munteret El Kaneitera, our 
objective being the village of Arak El Menshiye and its 
railway station ; the latter was occupied after some 
shelling on both sides by midday, and a certain amount 
of rolling-stock was captured. While this was going on, 
the Third and Fourth Australian Light Horse Brigades 
had seized Faluja on our left. After dusk we made a 
night attack on Summeil from the south, the Third and 
Fourth Australian Light Horse Brigades co-operating 
from the north and north-west ; our shelling was some- 
what erratic in the dark, and we were lucky to escape 
casualties from our own guns from the west. At mid- 
night our three regiments returned to Arak, and were 
relieved to find that water had arrived from Hesi. The 
wells in this district were very few and very deep, which 
made the drawing of water a tedious process. The 
horses, however, had to be sent back all the way to Hesi 
in order to be watered. 

November llth. 

During the morning a large number of sick men and 
horses were evacuated. The strain was beginning to tell ; 
We had now been on the move for fourteen days, and 
the horses had on more than one occasion been forty- 
eight hours without water and often twenty-four ; on 
many occasions the latter had been equally long without 
having their saddles off — the men were badly in want 
of sleep, and many had broken out again with septic 
sores, chiefly on account of their inability to wash or 
take off their clothes for the past two weeks. A certain 
amount of dysentery also began to develop again. How- 



188 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

ever, the advance had got to go on, however great the 
wastage in men and horseflesh might be. It appeared 
that the motor-ambulance convoys had broken down, 
and that there was a great accumulation of wounded 
and sick at Hesi and Faluja. Our regimental transport 
arrived during the day with rations, but as the other two 
regiments were without the latter, our food had to be 
distributed amongst the whole Brigade, with corresponding 
shortage to ourselves. However, as one or two "acci- 
dents " occurred to some sheep in the vicinity, we did 
not go to sleep so hungry after all. 

The Battle of Balin. 
November 12th, 

The Brigade marched out soon after dawn, a good 
many horses being led, on account of sore backs. Soon 
after starting we fell in with some wandering horses who 
attached themselves to our Brigade for the sake of com- 
pany, and many of whom proved quite useful. On the 
aerodrome near Arak station we found five burnt aero- 
planes. The station buildings, which we had left after 
they had been captured on the previous day, were being 
freely pillaged by the Bedouin. Summeil was reached 
again at 9 a.m. and was found to be evacuated, but a 
few shells were falling to the north of the village from 
the direction of Berkusie. We were told that the Anzac 
and Yeomanry Divisions had advanced their line on our 
left from Burka to El Mesmye. From the highest part 
of Summeil village we obtained a view of what, according 
to the map, must have been the heights of Bethlehem. 
After a couple of hours' rest, during which several horses 
died of exhaustion, we commenced our advance on Balin, 
keeping the Turkish railway on our left. This village 
was situate on a slight eminence separated by a ridge of 
hills from El Tine on the north ; the latter was on the 
same railway, which passed round the left shoulder of 
the above-mentioned hills. A ride of a few miles brought 
us within sight of Balin, and under heavy shell fire, my 




SKETCH MAP OF PALESTINE, OCTOBER-DECEMBER 1917. 

(Based on The Times map. 



PALESTINE 189 

horse being wounded in the head and losing one eye. 
We galloped round the western slopes of the village and 
halted below some cactus plantations, shelling becoming 
worse and numerous casualties resulting. We now had 
the Fourth Australian Light Horse Brigade on our left, 
and the Third on our right, the Gloucester Yeomanry 
seizing the heights on the north of the village, while the 
Worcesters and Warwicks occupied those to the north- 
west. Our Regimental Dressing Station was established 
in a stonewalled camel-yard in the highest part of the 
village, and soon contained many wounded. After a 
time we noticed that all troops were coming down from 
the northern slopes and were streaming away to the 
north-east. From our position in the village, we at the 
dressing station could see through our glasses consider- 
able numbers of the enemy detraining at El Tine station, 
and realized that very strong reinforcements were coming 
up against us. This seemed to be the great danger, as 
we, a weak Brigade, were ahead of our main body, while 
the Turks, with a working railway behind them, could 
bring up large reinforcements and guns at short notice. 
Our battery shelled these reinforcements from the south 
of Balin, but were completely outgunned by the enemy's 
heavy artillery. On one occasion our H.A.C. battery 
galloped into the open to the left of the hills, and came 
into action in full view of the enemy. After being busy 
in our dressing station for some time, we came out to 
see how things were going, and were horrified to see 
strange-looking turbaned troops coming down over the 
ridge, which a short time ago had been occupied by our 
yeomen ; in the distance we could see our men retreat- 
ing on the right. The enemy, who were beginning to 
descend the steep declivity, were only some 300 yards 
away. Luckily we had kept the horses on which the 
wounded had been brought in, so, realizing that escape 
was a matter of seconds, we hastily mounted all our 
casualties and galloped them out of the rear of the yard. 
There were, however, not enough horses to go round, 
and some of us had to escape on foot. Some horses were 



190 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

shot and came down, but luckily all the wounded managed 
to escape after galloping about 2 miles, the horses bear- 
ing the serious casualties being led by men who were 
slightly wounded. This was an occasion when we profited 
from the many practices and competitions we had carried 
out in carrying wounded out of action by various methods. 
Some of us, who had no horses to ride, had a strenuous 
and exciting time on foot ; as we looked back, we could 
see that some Turkish cavalry were following the infantry, 
and we knew that when the former got to the bottom of 
the declivity and were able to gallop they would easily 
catch us up. As we ran, we felt that we were under a 
heavy rifle fire, and more horses were hit ; after running 
about a mile, two of us came across a couple of riderless 
horses, mounted, and managed to gain the crest of the 
hill held by our own men and comparative safety. There 
were some fine rescues on that day, and a few moments 
after we had gained the ridge an R.A.M.C. corporal, 
attached to the Gloucester Yeomanry, came galloping in 
from another direction under a hail of bullets, carrying 
an unfortunate yeoman, who had lost his foot, on the 
front of his saddle. 

It appeared that our Brigade, in their advance beyond 
Balin, had unwittingly bumped into a very strong counter- 
offensive, and had found themselves up against thousands 
of Turkish infantry and guns which had been sent down 
the railway from Jerusalem. Before the action had 
commenced in the morning, a troop of Gloucester Yeo- 
manry, with a Hotchkiss gun, had reconnoitred near El 
Tine station, and taking cover behind a thick cactus 
hedge, had watched the enemy detraining ; while so 
engaged a large Turkish Staff motor-car containing two 
Turkish Generals had passed within about 50 yards 
of the yeomen's hiding-place, and the latter had riddled 
car and Generals with their Hotchkiss gun ; needless to 
say, after this performance the yeomen rejoined their 
regiment as fast as possible. On this day the Gloucester 
Yeomanry lost, amongst others, two gallant officers ; one 
of them, a machine gun officer, remained on the hills 



PALESTINE 191 

with his guns to cover the retirement of his regiment, 
and was last seen aUve, when the enemy were close up, 
lifting a wounded man on to his own horse. After we 
had picked up some Australians, we heard that our 
regiment had retired on Summeil, but were unable to 
find the unit, as darkness had come on. The situation 
was obscure, but it appeared that our Brigade was to 
hold the line west of the village between the Third and 
Fourth Australian Light Horse Brigades, until reinforced 
by an Infantry Division which was on its way up. On 
reaching Brigade Headquarters, near the village of Ijseir, 
we were given the position of our regiment, and were told 
to take the water ration and ammunition waggons out 
to it. Unfortunately, the position of our Brigade was 
changed after we had started ; but after wandering for 
some hours in the dark, at one time close to the Turkish 
outpost line, where there was a gap between our Brigade 
and the next, and after losing one horse on the way, we 
eventually fell in with the regiment at midnight. It 
had been a trying day, and throughout the night we 
expected the enemy to attack ; no doubt the latter would 
have done so, had he realized what a very thin line of 
defence we had. When the Brigade casualties were 
ascertained, we discovered that, in addition to the killed 
and wounded, there were several missing. 

November ISth. 

At dawn several of the men and many of the horses 
were exhausted, the latter especially, as they had not 
been watered for thirty-six hours and had been con- 
tinuously saddled up during that period ; many col- 
lapsed and had to be shot. As there was little cover, 
the horses were sent back as dawn broke to Ijseir, and 
we remained dismounted on the outpost line. The situa- 
tion was uncomfortable, as we knew that we had strong 
forces opposite us and did not know when we should be 
relieved. At nine o'clock a line of retirement was decided 
on, if the necessity should arise, and brisk fire broke out 
all along the line. Soon after midday our Brigade was 



192 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

relieved by the Seventh, who had just arrived at Ijseir ; 
the rehef took a long time, as the troops concerned had 
to walk a mile in the open, and only groups of two or three 
were allowed to proceed at one time. Eventually, the 
whole Brigade was collected in the Wadi behind Ijseir 
village, and orders were received to move rapidly to Hatte. 
This ride was an unpleasant experience, as we had to 
cross an open plain under heavy shell fire from the Turkish 
guns at Berkusie ; however, it was accomplished in very 
open order. At Hatte, rations and drinking water were 
issued, but the poor horses still had to go dry. That 
night, after a weary ride, we eventually reached Es Suafir 
Esh Sherkiye. 

November 14iih. 

The horses were sent to water early, but did not return 
until night, most of them having been over sixty hours 
without any water, and many more succumbed as a 
result. Our camp lay just west of the railway recently 
constructed by the Turks from El Tine to Gaza, and 
during the morning, owing to shortage of firewood, many 
of the sleepers were torn up. The Australian Mounted 
Division operating unit was established at Julis, and 
our Divisional Collecting Station was erected near our 
bivouac. We heard the news that the Yeomanry Division 
had been sweeping northwards with some of the Twenty- 
first Corps and had cut the railway between Ramleh and 
Jerusalem, thus isolating the latter. All day long rein- 
forcements were marching through and heavy guns were 
going up. We were informed at night that our Brigade 
had been taken out of the Australian Mounted Division, 
and that we were temporarily attached to the Twenty- 
first Corps. Owing to the number of dead horses in the 
vicinity, the shrieks of the jackals made it difficult to 
sleep at night. 

November 15th, 

During the morning two of us rode over to a Jewish 
village east of Beit Duras, in order to buy provisions. 



PALESTINE 193 

This was the first of the European-looking Jewish villages, 
founded under the Rothschild Colonization Scheme, 
which we had come across. After being accustomed for 
many months to see nothing but mud-huts and Bedouin 
tents, it seemed extraordinary to come across a clean, 
European-looking village with red-tiled roofs and well- 
kept roads. The Jews appeared to be of all nationalities, 
including English. It appeared that the Turks had 
behaved well to these colonies, as the village seemed to 
be thriving, and we were able to purchase a considerable 
amount of food without any difficulty. We had always 
been told that the Turks used to loot the Jewish and 
Christian villages when they were encamped in the 
vicinity, and yet, in this place, we did not see any evi- 
dence of barbarity and found ample supplies of bread, 
figs, dried fruit, chickens and even arak (raw spirit). 
The Brigade had already marched to the Wadi Nahr 
Sukarier, and after getting the water-carts filled in the 
village and collecting a certain amount of our transport, 
we marched out on a bearing of 340°, leaving Esdud 
(Ashdod) to the west and Burkah to the east, to a point 
2 miles east of Neby Yunis, on the Wadi Sukarier, 
which was 2 miles from the sea and 15 miles north 
of Askelon. On the way we rode over grassy, down-like 
country, intersected by numerous W^adis, which on account 
of our wheels had in most cases to be circumvented. 
Here we saw evidence of the advance of the Twenty-first 
Corps, particularly the Fifty-second Division, who had 
advanced along the sea-coast. It was a gruesome sight, 
and many Bedouin were busy looting what they could. 
The latter were loading up camels with Turkish and 
British rifles and bandoliers, but we were able to make 
them give up some of these, as we had waggons in which 
they could be carried ; we realized, however, that the 
native population had already collected a large amount 
of arms and ammunition, which they were concealing in 
their villages. Soon after crossing the Askelon-Ramleh 
road we skirted a deep Wadi full of water, and reached 
the Third and Fifth Brigades' bivouac. 

13 



194 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

November 16th. 

This was indeed, after all our recent water shortage, 
a heavenly place ; a beautiful green Wadi with actually- 
running water. We knew that if only we could rest here 
a few days the horses and men would be ready to go on 
for a long time. 

November 17 th, 

We received orders to move at dawn, and marched 
through Burkah, Yasur and El Mesmiye to El Tine 
station, where the line Termus-Tine-Kezaze was taken 
up. One saw evidence of another infantry fight en route 
to Tine, where an enormous ammunition dump had been 
captured, also a train and many railway sidings. This 
station at El Tine was the junction for the lines to Gaza 
and Beersheba, and hence a large amount of the enemy's 
stores had been accumulated at this place. Owing to 
shortage of fuel that night, the old Turkish ammunition 
waggon proved most useful. 

November 18th, 

At dawn our " D " Squadron moved out to reconnoitre 
the Wadi Surar, and it was thought that they would 
probably obtain the first view of Jerusalem. Later in 
the morning the rest of the Brigade ascended the hills, 
following a very rocky track to Deir Namen, in order to 
take up the line Eshua-Artuf. While the Third and 
Fourth Brigades were attacking to the north from Amwas 
to Latron, our Brigade was to make a demonstration 
with the battery in its own sector. In the afternoon we 
halted in very broken country, and our battery displaced 
the enemy from a peak opposite us. At this height, some 
2,000 feet above sea-level, we had a good view to the 
east of Bethlehem, and to the west of Ramleh and the 
sea-coast, along which we could see a complete Infantry 
Division on the march. At dusk the Brigade moved down 
to the Wadi Menakh, where a plentiful supply of water 
was found. 



PALESTINE 195 

November l^ih. 

We were now under the Twenty-first Corps orders, and 
were told that during the coming operations no unit was 
to go within 5 miles of Jerusalem. Close to our bivouac 
was the Patriarch of Jerusalem's summer residence, 
which included a large orange garden, which was much 
appreciated. In the evening we left this pleasant spot 
in inky darkness and torrential rain, and proceeded by 
a goat -track to the village of Kezaze. A little further on 
we stumbled in the dark into Junction Station, which 
had recently been captured, and seemed to consist, in the 
dark, mainly of shell-holes and destroyed railway lines. 
The rain came down in torrents, and we spent a very 
wet night sleeping in the mud. 

November 20th, 

At dawn we were joined by our " D " Squadron, who had 
been escorting the battery during the march ; but owing 
to the rough nature of the ground the former had had 
great difficulty in bringing its guns in the dark along 
the narrow tracks. We were told that the role of our 
Brigade would be to do right flank guard to the Twenty- 
first Corps and advance along the eastern road to Jeru- 
salem, while some Infantry Divisions were cutting the 
northern road at Eire, thus isolating the city, except 
for the road which communicated with the Dead Sea 
and the north-east. We rode through Khulde to Latron, 
famous for the monastery founded on the site of the 
birthplace of the Penitent Thief. This monastery had 
been taken over by the Turks as an Agricultural College, 
after expelling the French monks, at the outbreak of war. 
Latron proved a good watering place, as a brook of con- 
siderable size ran down the centre of the valley in which 
the former was situated. Here we came across numbers 
of infantry regiments with their transport, both Indian 
and British, chiefly belonging to the Seventy-fifth Division. 
Towards the end of the valley, where the road led up 
towards Jerusalem, a battle was going on and shells were 



196 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

bursting over the pass. On either side Indian and West- 
Country troops were scaling the precipitous rocks. We 
marched on to Deir Eyub and halted ; here the valley 
narrowed and became a regular defile, with rocky hills 
up to 2,000 feet on either side. The firing died away 
ahead of us as the infantry flank guards gained their 
objectives on either side of the road, and by midday 
the enemy's shelling ceased. We walked up to the 
village of Deir Eyub, a regular mountain fastness built 
in the rocks, but were unable to procure any provisions ; 
the inhabitants appeared to be terrified, and had locked 
themselves in their stone houses. Later in the afternoon 
we received the order to move, but after going half a mile 
up the defile we were forced to return to the valley, as 
the narrow road was completely blocked with batteries, 
ammunition columns and supply waggons. A terrific rain- 
storm came on, and the grass-covered valley became 
partly lake and partly bog, and we slept again in the 
wet, feeling very cold and very hungry, as rations were 
short. 

November 21st, 

Reveille was at 4 a.m., and in pitch darkness and a 
sea of mud our march up the gorge commenced. At 
the commencement of the latter we passed quite an 
Italian-looking white house, set in cypresses, which in 
former days had been an inn. The scenery was moun- 
tainous, and tiny native villages were to be seen on either 
side nestling in the rocks. There was everywhere evi- 
dence of the Turkish retreat before the Seventy-fifth 
Infantry Division — discarded guns, limbers and dead 
horses lying on either side of the road ; the latter, where 
it passed over a small bridge, had been blown up by the 
retreating enemy, but had been quickly repaired by our 
R.E. The road was well made, and in places was cut into 
the side of the mountains, with a drop of some hundreds 
of feet on one side. At midday we halted near the 
village of Saris, close to the top of the pass, where the 
Warwickshire Yeomanry were detached. From this place 



PALESTINE 197 

we had a superb view of the sea and the maritime plain 
to the west ; the white towers of Ramleh and Ludd, far 
below us, seemed to ghsten in the brilHant sunshine. A 
Httle further on we reached the summit of the pass above 
Kuryet Enab, which had been captured by the infantry 
the day before. However, the enemy did not appear 
to be far away, as their field guns were still shelling 
the road in the vicinity. We bivouacked amongst the 
rocks, two of our squadrons proceeding along the road to 
hold posts at Kustil and Asiati. We were now within 
7 miles of Jerusalem. It appeared that the Seventy-fifth 
Division had had heavy casualties before taking the top 
of the pass, but the heavy guns of the Twenty-first Corps 
were now in position and in action. It was a very cold 
night, and we felt the change in altitude, as we had risen 
from the level of the plain to 2,500 feet above sea-level. 
A mountain battery being camped just above us some- 
what interfered with our sleep, as their wandering mules 
were very inquisitive about us. 

November 22nd. 

Having little to do, as the squadrons were out on patrol, 
some of us walked over to the village of Enab (Biblical 
Emmaus). It was not a successful visit, as the natives, 
like ourselves, were short of food. We saw a large Greek 
convent, later taken over by the Staff, and the house 
formerly occupied by the German Consul in Jerusalem, 
which was now inhabited by an infantry Field Ambulance. 
Two German officers had escaped out of this house on 
the previous day and had blown up the bridge at 
Kulonieh, on the Jerusalem road, some 2 miles beyond 
Enab. From the heights we had a marvellous view of 
the surrounding country, looking down from some hills 
2,000 to 3,000 feet high on the plains and the sea beyond. 
Two of our squadrons were used in patrol work in con- 
nection with the Infantry Divisions which were operating 
west of Jerusalem. The Tenth Australian Light Horse 
were temporarily attached to our Brigade. 



198 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

November 2Srd, 

Intelligence stated that 4,000 Turks with guns were 
holding up the western approach to Jerusalem, which 
the Seventy-fifth Division were trying to force ; a new 
German Division had been located at Nablus, and 
our attacking infantry were holding the line from Beit 
Isa to Nebi Samwil. Our rations were rather short, 
owing to difficulties of transport, and at this time our 
daily menu consisted of five biscuits (only three inches by 
three inches), one tin of bully beef and tea ; this did not 
seem enough in the keen mountain air, and one generally 
retired to rest very hungry. Occasionally a very small loaf 
of bread was issued instead of the five biscuits, but the 
latter were preferable, as the bread was generally mouldy. 
There was also a tobacco famine, which was very trying 
for some of us. 

November 2Uh, 

In the morning the Sixtieth Division marched up the 
pass from Latron to Enab, in order to relieve the Seventy- 
fifth ; the latter, comprising West-Country troops and 
Indian regiments, had had heavy losses. Owing to 
the great shortage of water in the mountain, we were 
ordered to return to Latron. On the way down the pass 
our Signalling Officer's horse shied at a camel, and man 
and horse went over the side of the road. Luckily there 
was not a big drop, and they were merely badly shaken. 
Half a mile farther down, where the road fell away pre- 
cipitously on the near side, my horse shied at a mule 
which had been recently killed by a shell, and it appeared 
as if both of us were about to fall down the precipitous 
mountain side to the valley below ; in order to prevent 
this, I threw myself off on the off side, and my horse 
recovered himself before he was over. The result was 
a dislocated shoulder, which caused a certain amount 
of discomfort, but luckily, after trying various means 
of transport, I was able to get a motor-ambulance which 
ran me down to the bottom of the pass, where a hos- 



PALESTINE 199 

pitable London Field Ambulance reduced the dislocation. 
Best of all, this unit, which had recently arrived at Latron, 
presented me with a pound of tobacco. On regaining my 
Brigade, it was decided that I should do duty with our 
Field Ambulance for a time, a substitute from the latter 
taking my place in the regiment. 

November 25th, 

Some of our regiment were out clearing the surround- 
ing villages, and we noticed many big guns moving up 
the pass. One of our dispatch riders had now been 
missing for two days, and it was thought he must have 
been either captured by the Turks or fallen over the 
cliff with his horse. All day long we heard the Yeomanry 
Division heavily engaged at Tahta, to our north, where 
they were fighting in the mountain after sending their 
horses back to Ramleh. 

November 26th. 

We heard that the attack by the Fifty-second Division 
on El Gib, near Bire, which commanded the northern 
approach to Jerusalem, had failed, and that the Sixtieth 
Division were to attack the former position. 

November 27th. 

More big guns moved up the pass, accompanied by 
sausage balloons for spotting purposes, and our Brigade 
received orders to proceed to Artuf, south of the main 
road to Jerusalem. 

November 28th. 

Brigade Headquarters moved to Artuf, but our recon- 
noitring squadron found that there was no possible track 
beyond the village for cavalry, so it was decided that 
we should advance north of that place, probably as in- 
fantry. The Seventy-fourth Division marched up the 
pass during the day to relieve the Sixtieth, as El Gib 
had not yet fallen and Bire was still occupied by the 
Turks. From midday we were at short notice to move. 



200 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

but received no orders. It was interesting to note that 
the Eastern star appeared over the entrance to the pass 
in a line with Bethlehem every night. 

November 2^th. 

We heard from some friends in the Seventy-fourth 
Division that two new Infantry Divisions had arrived 
from the Base and were now at Belah ; a rumour also came 
from Twentieth Corps' Headquarters that El Gib had 
been captured. All day long we heard our heavy guns 
in action, and saw one of our sausage balloons shot down 
by Fritz, the observer escaping gracefully in a parachute. 
At this time, owing to the tobacco shortage, the current 
price for Woodbine cigarettes amongst the men was five 
a shilling, and one used to see groups of four or five passing 
a single cigarette from mouth to mouth. Just before 
sunset Fritz came over, flying low, and caused some 
casualties amongst us. At dusk the Brigade marched 
from Latron, passing through Kulde to Junction Station, 
where we passed the Tenth Irish Division, which had 
recently arrived from Salonika and which we had not 
seen since the days of Suvla Bay. Proceeding due west 
across the plain, we passed the village of El Mughar, 
where we could see the flash of our monitors' guns firing 
from the coast, and eventually halted on the sand-dunes 
south of Yebna. 

November SOth, 

At daylight we found ourselves on the sand-dunes on 
the edge of a fertile plain, a few miles north-west of the 
ancient Gath. We seemed to be out of touch with events 
here, and were very vague as to what was happening and 
whither we were about to proceed. 

December 1st. 

At dawn we were informed that the Brigade would 
take up a line on the hills, dismounted for a time, until 
some new Infantry Division arrived from the Base. At 
8 a.m. we rode to Akir, where there were good watering 



PALESTINE 201 

facilities. Here was another of those European Jewish 
settlements, the village consisting of well-arranged streets 
and white houses, with picturesque red tiles and green 
shutters. It seemed strange to see the Jewish population 
wearing European clothes, particularly old men in frock- 
coats and seedy-looking top -hats, after being accustomed 
to nothing but flowing Bedouin robes or Turkish uniforms 
for the last two years. Jaffa oranges were plentiful, 
and they were tremendously appreciated. After crossing 
the railway to Ramleh, at the village of Naane, we fell 
in with the remains of the Sixth Mounted Brigade Field 
Ambulance, which had just come down from the hills ; 
the former had had very heavy losses amongst their 
personnel, and had nothing left of their transport except 
two mules and a few camels. As we approached that 
very marked feature, the hill of Abu Shushar (the Biblical 
Gezer), we were met by the Sixth Mounted Brigade, 
pitifully reduced in numbers after their recent fighting 
in the hills. We heard how they had been counter- 
attacked again and again by first-class troops, and how, 
after being completely surrounded at Tahta, they had 
eventually been relieved under cover of darkness by the 
Seventh Mounted Brigade, after incurring some 500 
casualties. We also heard details of the brilliant 
charge by the Berks, Bucks, and Dorset Yeomanry at 
El Mughar some weeks ago, when they galloped across 
from Yebna over 3 miles of open plain, and eventually 
routed some thousands of Turks with numerous machine 
guns and some artillery on the opposite hill. After 
exchanging our experiences with one another, the two 
Brigades parted, and we received orders to take over the 
line from Suffa to Tahta, with an advanced dressing 
station south of Beit Sira. We rode through the native 
villages of Barriye and El Kubab, and, descending the 
serpentine road from the latter, halted on the Wadi 
Neda — orders were then changed, regiments being sent 
back via Annabeh, Berfilya, and Burj to approach the 
line from the west, while the guns and the bearer section 
of the Field Ambulance proceeded up the Amwas track 



202 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

to Beit Sira. As I would not be of much use in rough 
country with my arm strapped to my side, I was given 
charge of the remainder of the Field x\mbulance, with 
all transport, horses and camels. Accordingly, together 
with the rest of the Brigade transport and the horses 
of the three regiments, we proceeded back to El Kubab 
in order to bivouac for the night. This place was on a 
considerable hill on the main road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, 
and it was interesting to examine the trenches, now 
two and a half years old, which had been dug by the 
Turks in 1915, when they feared the possibility of an Allied 
landing at Jaffa and consequent march on Jerusalem. 

December 2nd. 

Soon after dawn we were on the move, and descended 
the road to Ramleh ; the latter appeared to have some 
fine buildings, particularly the well-known clock-tower, 
and was known in Biblical times as Arimathea. Leaving 
this town on our left, we marched across country, through 
cultivated fields, to the neighbourhood of Ludd, and 
bivouacked in the adjoining village of Surafend ; however, 
on account of watering difficulties, as the horses of three 
Brigades had been congregated at the latter spot, we 
moved at dusk into the olive grove just outside Ludd 
itself. Here also there were certain difficulties in connec- 
tion with the water supply, and being the only M.O. 
with the Brigade, it fell to me to make arrangements 
about drinking water, and also to procure water for the 
horses and camels in the unit, of which I was now in 
charge. It was always necessary on these occasions to 
have a totally different watering place for the camels, 
as horses would never drink from the same source ; the 
camels, however, were obliging in that they only required 
a drink once every three days. 

During the next two weeks we remained camped in 
the olive grove outside Ludd with all the horses belonging 
to our Brigade, while the latter was fighting in the hills 
to the north. It was hard work for our men in the plain, 



PALESTINE 203 

as each had six horses to groom, water, feed and exercise, 
and, as usual, the old septic-sore trouble made its appear- 
ance again. We sent up supplies daily to our Field 
Ambulance, and for the time being lived in comparative 
comfort in the olive grove. At this time railhead was 
near Gaza, and one had to send a considerable distance 
in order to fetch remounts, reinforcements or new equip- 
ment. In this Palestine campaign it always seemed that 
the private soldier required a good deal of initiative 
apart from fighting, owing to the lack of communications 
and the great area over which at this time our force was 
spread. I remember sending tAvo A.S.C. drivers with 
orders to proceed to Gaza, a distance of 42 miles 
across country, via Yebna, Burka, Beit Duras, Mejdal, 
and Deir Sineid, in order to bring up some fresh waggons, 
with remounts and drafts. At that time there was no 
road properly connecting these places, and the men had 
instructions to water wherever it was possible and to 
make their own arrangements en route. For some reason 
or other we suffered very much at this time from a match 
famine ; the former were not required for smoking, as 
we had had no tobacco ration for a considerable time, 
but the question of fire for kindling purposes was becoming 
acute. When we had had this trouble at Latron there 
was always the holy fire in the monastery of the Penitent 
Thief which could be utilized ; this fire was said to have 
been burning continuously for some thousand or more 
years, and an Australian Light Horse trooper was heard 
to remark that it was about time someone blew it out ! 
We were now well into the rainy season, and our olive 
grove became a bog, and most of the roads in the vicinity 
became impassable for wheels, which had a bad effect 
on the arrival of our rations. We felt this ration shortage 
particularly at the time, as reinforcements kept arriving 
from Gaza to be attached to the Field Ambulance without 
any warning, having expended their own three days' 
rations en route. Owing to the large number of dead 
horses and camels in the vicinity of Ludd, the jackals, 
as usual, made the night hideous with their shrieks and 



204 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

laughter. The old town of Ludd was of considerable 
interest, especially the early Christian church of St. 
George. On December 10th we heard that Jerusalem 
had surrendered, and the Jews and Greeks living in Ludd 
were hilarious in their rejoicings. On the following day 
the Fifty-fourth Division, who were fighting in the north, 
to the west of our line, were attacked, but drove the 
enemy back; this was followed by heavy artillery fire 
on both sides. During our stay in the olive grove Fritz 
visited the neighbourhood of Ludd daily, and we wit- 
nessed some good air fights. On one occasion a motor- 
lorry was entering Ludd from Ramleh; the two drivers 
were buying oranges at a neighbouring stall, and while 
so doing some natives commenced to loot the contents of 
the lorry. Fritz came over, dropped his bomb, and killed 
the natives, obviously a just punishment for the latter. 
One morning the Third Australian Light Horse Brigade 
in their camp at Surafend suffered considerably, having 
eighty horses killed while at water. The Anzac Receiving 
Station, which had been at Ramleh, was moved at this 
time, and we now had to send back 42 miles to Deir 
Sineid for our medical stores. The camels did not do 
well in the wet weather, and most mornings one was 
informed by the sergeant in charge of these animals 
that another one had " passed away " in the night. After 
being about ten days in this camp we found that a 
Turkish long-range gun was beginning to drop an occa- 
sional shell at the end of our plantation, and therefore 
we moved to a more salubrious and drier position on 
the sand, closer to the Ludd road. Reports received 
from our Brigade in the line stated that things were 
fairly quiet, except for sniping, and casualties were not 
numerous. A rumour was current that 40,000 Bulgars 
were on their way down to our front. On December 13th 
we received an interesting summary of intelligence 
compiled by Desert Mounted Corps Headquarters. This 
told us all about the surrender of Jerusalem, and of the 
fighting which had recently been going on outside the 
Holy City. The Turkish newspapers stated that as a 



PALESTINE 205 

result of the Russian peace 40,000 Turkish troops were 
on their way down to Palestine from the Caucasus. On 
December 15th the whole of the Brigade led horses and 
transport, together with a comparatively small number of 
officers and O.R.'s, left Ludd for Deiran ; as we rode out 
of the former town we could see the Fifty-fourth Division 
heavily engaged a few miles to the north. We took the 
road through Ramleh, crossing the Jaffa-Jerusalem road, 
and for the first mile or so our route lay amongst 
wheat and olive groves ; a little later we found ourselves 
riding through miles and miles of orange groves, heavily 
laden with fruit. These were the famous Jaffa oranges, 
and appeared to be cultivated most carefully. There 
were numerous nurseries where the trees could be seen 
in various stages, and a wonderful system of irrigation 
had been installed in the grove, consisting of large reser- 
voirs, pumping engines, iron water-pipes and cement 
channels, the latter bifurcating in all directions in order 
to carry the water to every single tree. The earth was 
of a rich red colour, and the country-side also supported 
lemon groves, vineyards and almond fields. It seemed 
to us indeed a land of peace and plenty. Homely looking 
white farm-houses, with red-tiled roofs, peeped through 
the foliage, and cleanly dressed, fair-skinned European 
Jews came out of their houses as we passed. The largest 
oranges, of superb quality, were being sold at forty for 
a shilling, but there appeared at that time to be no 
objection to our men picking as many as they liked without 
payment. When one looked at these large orange farms 
and the cheerful well-fed European inhabitants, one could 
not help thinking with some amazement of the stories 
which had been circulated in the East, describing how 
the Turk had maltreated all but the Mohammedan popu- 
lation in Palestine. After riding for miles through these 
delightful surroundings, through air heavily scented 
with almond and orange blossom (we noted that the 
orange-tree flowered and bore fruit at the same time), 
the lane which we were traversing led out on to some 
open grassy country about half a mile west of the 



206 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

important Jewish settlement Deiran (Hebrew, Rehoboth). 
Here we each pitched our camp, and began to hope that 
the personnel of our various units would soon join us, 
when they were relieved on the hills, and enjoy the 
luxuries of this fertile plain. In the distance we could 
see excellent grazing for our horses, and across the down- 
like land to the south lay the raised town of Yebna and 
the villages of new and old Akir. That night several 
of us walked into Deiran, where we repaired to the 
" hotel " Kliwitzky, an excellent restaurant, kept by a 
Russian Jew. We had not sat down to a meal at a 
table with a tablecloth for many months, and here we 
enjoyed a most excellent five-course dinner, served up 
in a spotlessly clean way. Dinner was followed by two 
sorts of port wine, made by the Jews, which was very 
much appreciated. The village of Deiran appeared to be 
populated by Jews from nearly every European country, 
who controlled the extensive orange, wine and almond 
trade in this fertile district. The houses were well built 
and the inhabitants seemed prosperous. There was an 
excellent water supply and pumping station, the water 
being laid on to every house, a thing which seemed to 
us hardly conceivable in Palestine. While at dinner, 
many Jews came in and were anxious to inquire from 
us how things were going, especially those whose vine- 
yards and orange groves were north of Jaffa and still 
in the hands of the Turks. On the following day we 
visited the village again, and were very struck, in the 
daylight, with its picturesque aspect. With its large 
number of cypress-trees and white houses it reminded 
one of an Italian scene. We were delighted to find the 
Field Cashier, generally a very elusive person, whom we 
had not seen for many months, installed in the town 
hall. It was quite a strange feeling to be in a place 
again where money was of some use. We found Desert 
Mounted Corps Headquarters established in a very fine 
house, owned by the mayor, in the upper part of the 
village, and were allowed to study the large flag maps 
which showed the position of every unit on the Palestine 



PALESTINE 207 

front, including those belonging to the enemy. It seemed 
wonderful to us how the Intelligence people always 
managed to know where the various enemy units were 
situate, including those which were some way behind 
his front line. Between our camp and the village was 
a mighty winepress, in the central yard of which we found 
ample water for our horses. In one of the buildings 
connected with the winepress it was possible to utilize 
the numerous vats as baths for the men. During this 
time we only suffered from one shortage, that of wood. 
We sent our native camel-drivers out to scour the 
neighbourhood, but with little success. There were 
naturally strict orders against cutting down trees, as 
these were all fruit-bearing. Eventually the only way 
we could obtain sufficient wood was to steal it from the 
supplies of wood captured on the railway near Ludd ; 
these were carefully guarded, but still there were ways 
of obtaining it. The weather was now very wet, and 
the mortality amongst the camels and native camel- 
drivers increased. Although we had no tents, we were ' 
able to keep ourselves fairly dry with our bivouac sheets 
by digging into the side of the hills. South of our camp 
lay the Yebna-Mughar plain, where the Sixth Mounted 
Brigade made their famous charge. Standing on the 
Mughar Ridge and looking down on the plain beneath, 
it seemed almost inconceivable why the Turkish machine 
guns on the summit, aided by about 2,000 infantry, 
were unable to repel the yeomen's charge about a month 
previously. During these days we used to evacuate 
our casualties due east cross-country to Junction Station. 
Owing to the state of the road it became necessary to 
use eight mules for one light ambulance waggon, and it 
took them almost a day to complete the journey one 
way. On December 20th some interesting and amusing 
Intelligence was published: 

An Armenian connected with the Patriarchate in Jerusalem 
stated that AH Fuad Pasha, G.O.C. Twentieth Corps, said that 
he would defend the town to the last. Constantinople, however, 
thanked him for his patriotism and courage, and told him to 



208 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

evacuate it. A reliable commercial traveller saw Falkenhayn 
and Von Kress at Nabliis. A cabdriver gave valuable information 
about the roads north and east of Jerusalem. The clerk to a 
contractor at Rijm Bahr reported great grain transit across the 
Dead Sea by motor-boats and dhows. There appeared to be great 
concentration of troops and supplies between Jerusalem and the 
Dead Sea. From the diary of a Turkish artillery officer, a 
Divisional Order expressed regret that the O.C.'s 6th and 7th 
Regiments and their A.D.C.'s had deserted ! 



The enemy at this time opposite our Brigade were 
wearing our khaki and helmets. 

During our stay near Deiran an order was received 
that all ponies captured by the various units during the 
recent advance must be handed over to Divisional Head- 
quarters the excuse being that they might be infected 
with strangles, or other diseases. Of course, the inference 
(probably wrong) was that the Staff wished to have the 
pick of the nice little Arab ponies which some of us now 
possessed in addition to our chargers ; the former were 
most useful for carrying spare kit, and also for hacking 
purposes when we were not on the move. One day we 
suddenly received orders that the Corps Commander 
would inspect the horses of our Brigade in an hour's time. 
Amongst the horses of which I was in charge were some 
captured ponies, and it became necessary that these 
should be hidden at once. Our unit happened to be 
the first to be inspected, so after seeing the horse lines 
cleaned up, I sent our cooks out of camp with the ponies. 
Unfortunately, the former took the wrong direction, and 
met the Staff as they appeared over the hill. However, 
luck was with us : the ponies were not noticed, and 
returned to our lines after the inspection. 

Railhead had now reached Esdud (Ashdod), and rein- 
forcements and rations were fetched daily from this 
place. On December 22nd the Sikh Pioneers, followed 
by the Egyptian Labour Corps, made their appearance 
in the middle of our camp, and shortly afterwards an 
embankment appeared, as if by magic, across the valley. 

On account of the very wet weather which we were 



PALESTINE 209 

experiencing, our camels and camel-drivers suffered con- 
siderably. When the latter came up for their weekly 
pay, which they signed for by means of thumbmarks, 
being unable to write, they looked very wretched, and 
were continually asking when they would be sent back 
to Egypt. 

The port wine made by the Jews in the neighbourhood 
was much appreciated in this cold weather, and I managed 
to secure about fifty litres for the Field Ambulance, of 
which we dispatched half to the personnel in the hills. 

On Christmas Eve the railway had actually appeared 
in our camp, and it reminded us of Christmas Eve 1916, 
when we were bivouacked at Bittia, outside El Arish, 
in the pouring rain, under similar conditions. We had 
prepared all sorts of Christmas festivities, and were 
looking forward to a great dinner in one of the Deiran 
restaurants, when orders were received to proceed to 
Yebna on the morrow. In the evening the Corps chaplain 
held a service at Bethlehem, but only the chosen few repre- 
senting Corps Headquarters were allowed to go up to 
Jerusalem in order to attend the service. Our reconnoitring 
party, which had been out to look at the " road " to 
Yebna, returned with gloomy reports, saying that even 
then it was almost impassable for wheels, and meanwhile 
the rain continued to come down in sheets, the lower 
part of our camping ground being under water. That 
night I received a stiff letter from our A.D.M.S., who 
was living some miles away, stating that he had been 
informed that our Brigade was drinking the water of 
Deiran unchlorinated — see orders, etc. The reply, 
however, was easy to formulate, as the water had already 
been passed by the D.D.M.S. of the Corps, and was being 
used by everyone, including the Corps Commander. 

December 25th, 

Many of us will never forget Christmas Day 1917 ! 

We woke to find the usual inky sky and pouring rain ; 
the latter had been falling heavily throughout the night, 
and the plains to the south resembled a great lake, with 

14 



210 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the hill village of Yebna apparently rising from the 
waters. About 10 a.m. the whole of the horses and 
transport belonging to our Brigade left camp and pro- 
ceeded towards Yebna. I soon found that the waggons 
of the Field Ambulance were unable to follow the route 
traversed by the rest of the Brigade, so arranged with 
my transport sergeant to find an alternative track. We 
crossed several small torrents, which appeared suddenly, 
while the rain fell in buckets and the streams from the 
hills were rapidly inundating the plain. We followed 
what in dry weather was called a road, keeping the track 
for the railway on our left. After passing through miles 
of standing water, at the bad places having to put in 
six or eight mules to a light waggon instead of four, the 
road became impassable, the mud reaching above the 
axles. We determined to turn back and try the sand- 
dunes towards the sea, but by this time the water had 
risen in that direction and we thought we should never 
get out. Eventually, however, it was managed, in one 
case it being necessary to use twelve mules at a time 
to move a waggon, which was partly submerged, and 
unfortunately would not float. We halted our unit about 
a mile from Kubeibeh village, the tired horses refusing 
to face the stinging rain. On reconnoitring, we found 
the Warwicks crossing a swollen Wadi, which had washed 
away the railway, and whose presence could not be dis- 
covered, as it was part of a great lake, until a horseman, 
who was riding through two or three feet of water, became 
suddenly submerged. It was an extraordinary sight: 
several horses were swimming, and also men, some of 
the former disappearing altogether and being drowned 
in the swift current. The fact that each man was leading 
four horses made things worse. We rode along to look 
for a crossing lower down, but the water was rapidly rising, 
the stream being now a quarter of a mile across. I 
knew that four or five feet of water with an unknown 
amount of mud underneath would mean the loss of all 
my waggons, which would probably be carried away by 
the swiftly flowing stream to the sea. On consulting 



PALESTINE 211 

my map, it was discovered that the Wadi in question 
was described as dry ! Meanwhile the three regiments, 
after crossing the first flood, had found another impassable 
river beyond. They were on an island, and the water 
was rapidly rising. Accordingly, they recrossed to our 
side, after several immersions and much swimming, 
leaving several abandoned limbers in the stream. The 
large stream which they had encountered appeared to 
be the Wadi Shellal, also marked as a dry watercourse ! 
At this time one could actually see the water rising as 
the streams kept roaring down from the hills. Personally 
I gave it up as a bad job, and pitched our camp on a hill 
on which was situated the ancient tomb of Neby Kunda, 
behind Kubeibeh village. The rest of the Brigade rode 
on and tried a ford below the village — some of the 
Worcesters got over after swimming their horses, and the 
rest, realizing the danger of the rising water, remained 
on our side. Here we were at 7 p.m., Yebna only 2J 
miles away, but two rapidly rising rivers between it and 
us ; food and forage were at Yebna, and there was none 
behind us. We knew that communication with Deiran 
was impossible, as by this time the track by which we 
had come during the day must have been entirely under 
water. Luckily each man carried two days' rations, 
but they, of course, were soaked, as most of us had been 
partly or wholly submerged. 

We had several men who were collapsed after prolonged 
immersion in the water and who had to be resuscitated. 
Surrounding the tomb of Neby Kunda we found a con- 
siderable number of olive-trees, and I committed the 
unpardonable sin of ordering my men to cut these down 
for firewood, contrary to all regulations. There were 
very strict orders against cutting fruit-bearing trees 
for firewood, but in this case I felt that we were justified. 
What made my action seem worse was the fact that these 
trees were growing on holy ground. The rain continued 
to come down in sheets, but we, although wet through, 
managed to get some shelter under the waggons. Luckily 
I had got about thirty litres of the native port wine 



212 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

which we had bought for our postponed Christmas fes- 
tivities, and was able to issue it to the men with their 
evening meal. The former worked out at half a pint 
per man, and in spite of their miserable wet condition 
it actually made them break into song as they sat round 
the sizzling fire in the pouring rain. At midnight the 
deluge still continued, and one began to wonder what 
would happen if the floods rose still further on the 
morrow. 

December 26th, 

During the early morning the rain abated, and at 
7 a.m. a little blue sky could be seen. One realized 
that if it stopped raining for a few hours the floods would 
disappear as rapidly as they came. After breakfast, a 
friend from the Gloucester Yeomanry came round and 
said that the floods had subsided and that it might be 
possible for our unit to reach Yebna. We rode out 
about 2 miles through water about a foot deep, and 
found that the worst crossings were now only about 
four feet deep. An hour later we brought all the transport 
out, and eventually, with the loss of the contents of one 
waggon, successfully negotiated all the crossings and 
entered Yebna by the old stone bridge over the Wadi 
Katrah. The camels were very awkward, and when 
they fell down in about four feet of water we had great 
difficulty in preventing them from drowning. The narrow 
streets of Yebna were themselves under water and very 
congested with transport ; our Maltese cart on one 
occasion became completely submerged in what must 
have been in summer-time merely a depression of the 
road, and it took many teams of mules, after the cart 
had been located by feeling for it, to pull it out. About 
midday we reached our camping ground, a mile south 
of the town, between the Warwicks and the Gloucesters. 
Reinforcements had arrived from Esdud (Ashdod), and 
we dispatched waggons to draw supplies from ithat 
place. 



PALESTINE 213 

December 27th, 

A considerable number of camels and natives went 
sick after their recent immersion, and some of them 
died during the next few days. Our own sick we evacu- 
ated to the New Zealand Field Ambulance at the Wadi 
Sukereir, but as the waggons were unable to cross the 
Wadi they went to Esdud instead. We found a large 
Turkish water-tank just outside the town, with a 
capacity of 30,000 gallons, which proved most useful as 
a water supply for our Brigade and other troops, as the 
water could be chlorinated in bulk and drawn off daily. 
We were warned that owing to several breakdowns on the 
railway line, on account of the floods, no stores were 
reaching railhead near Esdud and that we should all 
be on half rations for the next five days ; that meant 
a little less than one tin of bully beef and four biscuits 
a day ; no milk, tea, sugar or jam. On looking at a 
map of Ancient Palestine that evening, we noticed that 
we had crossed from Ephraim into Dan. 

December 28th, 

Owing to the very bad state of the roads and the 
difficulty in evacuating the sick towards railhead, I sent a 
mounted man via Mughar and Katrah to Junction Station 
to report whether that route would be practicable if no 
more rain fell. This proved possible, and for the next few 
days we were able to make use of this line of evacuation. 

December 29th, 

At this time we heard very little of our Brigade, who 
were still fighting in the hills, but gathered that they 
also had had a very uncomfortable time during the 
heavy rain. The Tenth Division had recently made an 
attack on our left, the Fifth Mounted Brigade advancing 
their position to Nalim and Shilta. 

December SOth, 

After dawn the enemy made a determined attack on 
the Fifty-third Division east of Bethlehem, and at the 



214 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

same time attacked the Sixtieth north of Jerusalem ; 
both attacks were repulsed, and in the former the enemy 
lost very heavily. Taking advantage of this, the whole 
of the western half of our line was advanced, including 
the part held by the Fifth Mounted Brigade. Now that 
the floods had gone down, the bodies of many dead Turks 
were washed down to us from the hills and exposed. 

In the afternoon the Yebna Hounds (two and a half 
couples) met at Brigade Headquarters. A jackal was 
found in a small olive grove one mile west of the town. 
Hounds hunted him through several small enclosures 
separated by low banks and young cactus hedges to 
the flats near the Wadi Ferhar. The latter was crossed, 
not without some grief, and then the jackal was viewed 
making straight for the Wadi Tahranhat, 2 miles below 
the big stone Jaffa road bridge ; he then doubled back, 
and was eventually lost amongst the thick vegetation 
on the banks of the Wadi. On returning to camp we 
received orders to send up horses to the hills, in order 
to bring the Brigade down on the following day. 

1918. 

January \sL 

Unfortunately the rain commenced again, and we 
feared that the hill party might have our experience 
over again. A return was asked for as to the amount 
of transport required by each unit in order to move to 
Gaza. Everyone was very pleased at the prospect of 
a rest in moderate comfort. 

January 2nd. 

Terrific rain fell again during the night, and the whole 
Brigade rode in looking like drowned rats. As the 
Colonel of our Field Ambulance was with them, I handed 
over and returned to the regiment. We heard that all 
the three Cavalry Divisions were to proceed to Belah 
in order to re-equip and await reinforcements and 
remounts. On the following day our advance party 



PALESTINE 215 

went on, and we were joined by a battalion of French 
Colonial Infantry who were on their way up. 

January Uh. 

The Brigade marched over heavy going to Esdud, 
the ancient Ashdod, of which we could see very little. 
On crossing the Wadi Sukereir we came across part of 
the Anzac Mounted Division, who were just ahead of 
us. On the following day our route lay to El Mejdel, 
where we bivouacked on the sand-dunes near the ancient 
Askelon. We were getting out of the heavy country, 
and the roads were now considerably better. 

January 6th. 

After watering at the lake, we left Mejdel at 8 a.m. 
in a tremendous downpour. The latter at this time was 
not intermittent, but when it had once started continued 
all day. After riding through Burbera to Deir Sineid 
we halted at midday. Here we saw how our monitors 
had destroyed the Turkish railway bridge from the sea 
at an 8 -mile range. Some large unexploded naval 
shells were lying about, also the remains of railway trains 
and ammunition dumps, which had apparently been very 
successfully bombed last November. We passed several 
French camps and French hospitals, crossing our old 
friend the Wadi Hesi by a big stone bridge. 

At night we bivouacked about a mile east of Gaza, 
behind Ali Muntar, with an Indian Infantry Brigade. 
The rain continued to fall heavily during the night, and 
owing to our exposed position everyone was soaked to 
the skin. 

January 7th. 

In the morning we were awakened by the storm, and were 
painfully aware of the large hailstones which were falling. 
At about seven o'clock we saw a large waterspout coming 
towards us from the sea ; it looked like a column of black 
smoke surrounded by fog and spray. Luckily, however, 
it did not burst on us, but dissolved farther inland. As 



216 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

we rode through the fields behind Gaza we noticed the 
large holes caused by our big guns, where the latter had 
shelled the roads along which the Turkish transport used 
to go. The cactus hedges, where not actually destroyed, 
had been torn to ribbons. The town itself was deserted 
and mostly in ruins, especially the bazaar quarter. The 
remains of some fine houses still stood in the upper 
town. South of Gaza we passed through the Turkish 
and British trench systems, and eventually reached 
the mighty Wadi Ghuzze ; the latter, owing to the recent 
heavy rain, was now a veritable torrent, but luckily we 
found that the newly erected wooden bridge had not 
been washed away. After fording what appeared to be 
another Wadi of considerable size, and rescuing one man 
who was nearly drowned, Belah was reached in the 
afternoon. Our advance party had secured a camping 
area between the lake and the sea, on a slight eminence 
from which we could see no less than nineteen other 
cavalry regiments camped around us. Everyone was 
very happy at being in comparative comfort again, and 
as we had known the place for over a year, it seemed 
almost like coming home. 

During the next two months the Division remained 
at Belah, while reinforcements, remounts and equip- 
ment were sent up from the Base, and each regiment 
was brought up to strength again. Salvage parties were 
sent out to Gaza and worked daily, collecting wood and 
wire from the old Turkish defences. Every Brigade in 
the Corps held its own horse show, followed by Divisional 
horse shows, which caused the keenest competition 
amongst the various units. On January 20th an im- 
pressive Brigade Memorial Service was held for those 
who had fallen during the recent operations, and was 
followed by the " Last Post," played by the trumpeters 
of the Brigade. On the following day the Corps Com- 
mander inspected the three regiments and made a speech, 
thanking us for our work and detailing all the engage- 
ments in which we had taken part during the last three 



PALESTINE 217 

months. On one occasion some of us made an expedition 
to Gaza with the CO., riding out to the British trenches, 
where we were met by a gunner officer who had been in 
charge of a heavy battery during the siege, and who 
was to show us round the various positions. As our 
role during the first and second Battles of Gaza had been 
on the right flank, and as we had been engaged at Huj 
when the third Battle of Gaza was being fought, we 
had never seen the town at close quarters, and were curious 
to see the various positions, about which we had heard 
so much. First we visited one of the tanks which the 
Turks had captured during the second battle and the 
various hills where the Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth 
Divisions had fought so gallantly. Then we rode on to 
Ali Muntar, the most commanding of the enemy's posi- 
tions, the top of which had been literally removed by 
our gun fire. On this hill we noticed that several ancient 
tombs had been partly opened by the explosions of our 
shells, and one was very tempted to get to work with 
a pickaxe and make some wonderful discoveries ; how- 
ever, the presence of certain unexploded shells, some 
partly and some completely buried in the ground, finally 
altered our intentions. We lunched under the hill 
amongst masses of spring flowers, while our horses grazed 
on the rich grass, thinking over the many battles which 
had taken place over these positions during the last three 
thousand years. The town of Gaza was next visited, 
which a year ago had been the second largest city in 
Palestine and was now deserted and mostly in ruins. 
In the upper town, however, the remains of some very 
fine buildings were still to be seen. We noticed that 
where houses still remained not a single door existed, 
as the timber from the latter had been utilized by the 
Turks in order to revet their trenches. The large mosque 
was found in ruins, and still showed signs of the enormous 
ammunition dump which it had contained. 

During this period of rest at Belah, leave was freely 
given to Cairo, and was much enjoyed. The following 
story told of an Egyptian Labour Corps native amused 



218 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANARY M.O. 

us considerably. These natives were always anxious to 
get leave to return to Egypt, and used to send in applica- 
tions, often in English, to their C.O.'s. The following 
is a sample of one of these letters : " Sir, my absence 
is impossible, some man has uprooted my wife, my God 
I am annoyed. Yours faithfully." About this time we 
heard that five Cavalry Divisions, British and Indian, 
were coming out to Palestine, to be replaced by some 
of our mounted troops, who would proceed dismounted 
to France ; consequently the wildest rumours were 
current as to the future movements of our various Brigades. 
As a matter of fact, eventually only part of the Indian 
Cavalry Corps arrived, and a few of our regiments were 
sent to France as machine gunners. 

A two weeks' course for the M.O.'s of the Desert 
Mounted Corps was held at Moascar, near Ismailia, which 
many of us attended. We were made the guests of the 
Second Australian Light Horse Training Regiment, who 
entertained us most hospitably. The course included 
signalling, troop and squadron drill, veterinary lectures, 
reconnaissance, waggon loading, harness fitting, topography, 
map and compass reading, war diaries, staff organization, 
etc. ; the lecturer (a Staff officer) on the last named 
subject prefaced his address somewhat plaintively by 

saying that the Staff were not really such d d fools 

as most people thought. Purely technical subjects, which 
we doctors were supposed to know about, were dealt 
with by some of the pupils, sanitation being the lecture 
which devolved on myself. Though the course was a 
short one, and rather too many subjects were crammed 
into it, it was very instructive and a pleasant respite 
for many of us. The pleasant little town of Ismailia 
was only a couple of miles distant, with its excellent 
French club, whose cooking was very much appreciated 
after the somewhat crude fare we had been accustomed 
to. While attending the course we had an opportunity 
of seeing the Duke of Connaught decorating the Seventh 
(Meerut) Division, which had recently left Mesopotamia 
and was on its way up to replace the Fifty-second Division 



PALESTINE 219 

before Jaffa, as the latter Division was under orders 
for France. 

On returning to Belah I found that " hunting '* was 
in full swing, the Belah Hounds (Fifth Mounted Brigade) 
meeting three days a week south of the Wadi, while the 
Gaza Hounds (Twenty-second Mounted Brigade) hunted 
the country to the north. The hounds consisted chiefly 
of terriers and native dogs, but the Sherwood Rangers 
actually possessed one couple of foxhounds. As a rule 
the jackal had to be finally dispatched by one of the 
whips before hounds would break him up, which made 
the end of the hunt somewhat tame. On one occasion 
a jackal was hunted from a fig grove outside our camp 
to Ali Muntar, where he went aground in an old tomb, 
the distance traversed being about 7 or 8 miles. On 
March 16th the Seventh Brigade held a most suc- 
cessful steeplechase meeting over the grassy country 
just outside Gaza, issuing invitations to all the units in 
the vicinity. Our CO. drove our H.Q. Mess over in a 
coach (light ambulance waggon) drawn by four horses, 
our trumpeter-major tootling the horn. Even at this 
stage of the war a certain number of horses well known 
in the Midlands turned out to compete. The course was 
a good one, and regulation fences had been erected. The 
race of the day, the Palestine Grand National, which 
had last year been run just before the Battle of Rafa, 
was again secured by a horse owned by a Warwickshire 
squadron leader. On one Sunday several of us rode 
out to Tel El Jemmi and picnicked at El Mendur, riding 
on to El Munkeileh, where we had fought the second 
Battle of Gaza almost a year ago. The place was a mass 
of beautiful wild flowers, and one could hardly realize 
the scenes that had been enacted there last April. Near 
Tel El Jemmi we visited the graveyard where our fallen 
had been subsequently buried. Riding back through 
Sheikh Nebhan, some Australians showed us a sixth- 
century Greek mosaic which had been uncovered at 
Abu Teibig. There was much talk in these days about 
the " gap " scheme, as it was rumoured that a Cavalry 



220 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Division was to be pushed somewhere through the enemy's 
hne after the infantry had made an opening. 

We were now getting excellent rations, being on the rail- 
way at Belah, so far behind the line. The natives supplied 
us with plenty of fish, which they obtained by exploding 
charges amongst the rocks. Unfortunately, however, 
the IntelHgence people discovered that these Bedouin 
were using German dynamite, of which they had a large 
supply, for their fishing operations, and successfully put 
a stop to this item of our menu. The natives, while 
being interrogated by our General, were heard by one 
of our officers, who understood Arabic, to say, pointing 
to the former : " By Allah ! he must be a great man, 
for he hath the scissors on his shoulders." On March 
26th the Division was warned that it would be moved 
up shortly, and on the same day two of us M.O.'s received 
orders to report at Corps Headquarters, Deiran, in order 
to attend a malaria course at the Anzac Field Laboratory. 
We left forthwith and travelled by train, accompanied 
by some French officers, through the country which we 
had last seen under water and which was now in its 
normal condition. There being at this time no station 
at Deiran, we left the train at Bir Salaam, which was 
the station for G.H.Q., to which place the French officers 
were proceeding. G.H.Q. was to us regimental officers 
always a considerable mystery, and one was supposed 
not to know where it was. However, on this occasion 
the car which had been sent to fetch us from Desert 
Corps Headquarters actually drove past the " Holy of 
Holies," and after traversing devious lanes, up and down 
hill, through most fragrant orchards of lemon, apricot, 
fig and orange, growing in the rich red earth which one 
used to see in this neighbourhood, we emerged eventually 
at the now well-known village of Deiran and were taken 
to the Anzac Field Laboratory. This laboratory was 
a mobile unit, and was at the time situated in a large 
two-roomed farm-house on the outskirts of the village, 
and was in charge of an eminent Australian bacteriologist, 
who, sad to relate, a few months later himself died of 



PALESTINE 221 

malignant malaria, the very disease in which he gave us 
instruction. At this time the higher medical authorities 
were alarmed at the prospect of the very malarial country 
into which we should shortly advance. We were told 
that the country to the north of Jaffa possessed many 
malarial patches, and that the Jordan Valley and the 
neighbourhood of Damascus were very dangerous. In 
these places the malarial mosquito abounded, and there 
was a very highly infected native population. For these 
reasons as many M.O.'s as possible were given a rapid 
course of instruction at the laboratories of the various 
Corps, in order that they might be in a position to make 
a definite diagnosis directly a man fell sick. It was known 
that in the cerebral type of malignant malaria the first 
symptom was often loss of consciousness, and a definite 
diagnosis could only be rapidly established by means of 
a blood film. About a month later we had a case of 
this sort, a man previously apparently well suddenly 
falling off his horse in a state of coma. At this time we 
heard of the first raid to Es Salt — how the Sixtieth Divi- 
sion and the Anzac Division, after crossing the Jordan, 
had captured that place and had also partly destroyed 
the Hedjaz Railway near Ammam. 

During our stay at the laboratory we had an oppor- 
tunity of studying the various sorts of Jews in the 
village. They apparently spoke all the European lan- 
guages, except the Yeminite Jews, who were copper- 
coloured, and were said to have come originally from 
Aden, and who lived in a little colony outside Deiran. 
These Yeminites, although of Semitic appearance and 
professing the Jewish religion, seemed to be of a different 
caste to the white Jews, and apparently did all the hard 
labour for the latter in the vineyards and orchards. 
Towards the end of March the Feast of the Passover 
commenced, and the inhabitants of the village were all 
decked out in their best. About April 3rd some of the 
Anzac Division returned through Deiran, and we heard 
how they had retired from Ammam after blowing up 
4 miles of railway. It appeared that the Circassians 



222 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

in the villages near the latter place were very hostile, 
and on one occasion had to be almost exterminated by 
our force, as the former used to fire from their houses 
on passing troops. These tribes from the Caucasus were 
very friendly to the Turks because, being Mohammedans, 
after being badly treated by the Russians in Georgia 
some years ago, the enemy had allowed them to settle 
in the fertile district east of the Jordan Valley. 

During the Feast of the Passover a considerable number 
of Jewish volunteers were recruited, and enrolled them- 
selves in the town hall. On the following day there 
was much weeping and lamentation as they marched 
away. 

On April 7th, although our course was not quite com- 
pleted, an Australian officer and myself received orders 
to rejoin our Division, which had recently marched up 
from Belah to the Jaffa front. Accordingly, at midday 
we left Deiran in a box car, and driving through Richon, 
a Jewish village situated in the most famous wine-growing 
district of Palestine, proceeded along the Jaffa road to 
Yasur, and thence over the downs to the Selme district, 
where we found our Division encamped behind the 
infantry line. The Warwickshire Yeomanry had left for 
France, and their place was temporarily taken in our 
Brigade by the Sherwood Rangers. Our Division had 
apparently been lent to the Twenty-first Infantry Corps 
for the forthcoming operations. The latter consisted of 
the Fifty-second (later Seventh), Fifty-fourth, and 
Seventy-fifth Divisions, and held the line in front of 
the Auja estuary, north of Jaffa, to within about 10 
miles of Eire. Apparently the idea was that the infantry 
should make a gap in the enemy's line about 8 miles 
from the sea, and that the Cavalry Division should then 
be thrown in, gallop about 10 miles, turn left-handed, 
and attack the enemy force on the sea sector, which they 
would catch in their rear. It was said that after these 
operations had been concluded the Fifth Mounted Brigade 
would be reorganized, and would consist of the Gloucester 
Yeomanry and two Indian cavalry regiments, and that 




^. m. 



PALESTINE 223 

the Worcesters would be attached as Corps cavalry to 
the Twentieth Corps in the Jordan Valley. Our bivouac 
was a pleasant one, the country being covered with grass, 
dust being almost completely absent. A Taube was shot 
down near our camp during the afternoon, and it was 
said that fifty-seven had been brought down in the last 
three months. At night the batteries of the Twenty- 
first Corps were kept busy. On the following morning 
some of us rode out to a slight eminence known as Bald 
Hill, which had been the scene of some heavy fighting, 
as shown by the graves on it, a few months ago, whence 
we had a fine view of part of the line held by the Twenty- 
first Corps. Bearings were taken on various points, 
and landmarks were identified ; below us lay the village 
of Mulebbis, with its little red-roofed houses, set amongst 
the trees, and beyond it on the right we could see the 
old Crusader fortress of Ras El Ain, which at this time 
constituted part of our front line. The Turkish railway 
almost up to this point was in our hands. Our shells 
could be seen exploding in the Turkish lines, and we 
identified the villages of Jiljulieh and Kalkilieh, with 
Kefr Kasim and Me j del Yaba on our right. During the 
night the right-hand division of the Corps made an advance 
in the hills after a preliminary bombardment. On the 
following day the enemy counter-attacked, but were 
driven back. In the morning two of us rode through 
miles of beautiful orange and lemon groves and through 
orchards bordered by eucalyptus and pepper trees into 
Jaffa. It was an interesting and picturesque town, which 
had benefited by most of the modern improvements. 
All the guards of the various public buildings were supplied 
by French and Egyptian regiments. Just outside the 
town, along the coast to the north, was the flourishing 
German colony of Sarona, containing many large houses 
amongst the orange groves. On the morning of April 10th 
the " gap " scheme was explained to us, and times and 
places were noted ; the general idea was not prepossessing, 
and we were told that no medical arrangements need 
be made for our regiments by ourselves, as what was left 



224 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

of it was to gallop right through the " gap " and not 
halt until El Tireh, beyond Tabsor, was reached. We 
were not to stop for casualties, as they were to be left 
where they fell, and might be picked up later on if the 
position was consolidated. A few light ambulance waggons 
were to gallop through after us, but they also were not 
to halt until El Tireh was reached ; but it seemed highly 
probable that they would be smashed up long before 
that, especially as they would have to gallop over the 
trenches, which our Brigade hoped to jump. On the 
following morning we lined a ridge with guns, near our 
camp, while the Gloucester Yeomanry and Sherwood 
Rangers " discovered " us, and then charged with drawn 
swords, we opening out at the last moment. Thus the 
" gap " scheme was practised in a very different way 
from what we really expected. It was said at midday 
that operations had been postponed owing to the Seventy- 
fifth Division meeting with a very stiff resistance. About 
this time the mounted troops had received their first 
tin hats, and most of us found them very hot in the 
heat of the day. 

April 12th. 

An officer from an observation balloon, who lunched 
with us, told us that the Turks had some two hundred 
guns in the vicinity of the position where the gap would 
be made. That afternoon we M.O.'s received final 
Medical Corps orders with regard to the attack on 
Jiljulieh and Kalkilieh. The Divisional Collecting 
Station was to be at the latter place, the Divisional 
Receiving Station at K. Hatta, and the Twenty-first 
Corps Main Dressing Station at Neby Tari ; the first 
two places, it was noted, were well within the enemy's 
lines. Most people in our Division were very pessimistic 
about success ; the general opinion was that, even if the 
infantry did make a gap, the greater part of the Third, 
Fourth and Fifth Mounted Brigades would be sacrificed ; 
if successful, the enemy's right flank might be turned 
and caught between us and our infantry on the sea 



PALESTINE 225 

sector. It seemed a needless sacrifice of our troops 
at this stage, with so little to gain — even if 7,000 
Turks were captured it was estimated that our losses 
would be very great, partly owing to the strength of 
the enemy's artillery. The Turks had got their tails 
up after the recent German advance and their own 
advance near Jericho. There were some nasty stories 
about the inhabitants of the Arab villages through which 
we should gallop ; these people did not love us, as they 
had been under our shell fire for some considerable time, 
and one could not help thinking that the lot of our 
wounded who were left behind might be a very unpleasant 
one. On April 13th the attack was again postponed, and 
a new " Z " day was fixed, owing to the infantry being held 
up again and suffering heavy casualties. Our officers' 
patrols rode out to Mejdel Yaba and did some useful 
reconnaissance. On the following day we were informed, 
much to my personal relief, that the " gap " scheme 
was off. It was said that the Higher Command did not 
consider that they were justified in incurring so many 
casualties, at a time when we were short of troops on 
this front, in order to attain such a relatively small 
success. This attack had been discussed and rediscussed 
for so many days by all ranks, that many of us were get- 
ting quite depressed at the idea of it. In the afternoon 
several of us indulged in football, feeling that we had 
taken a new lease of life, while an air fight went on 
overhead, which was not nearly so exciting to us as 
the football match. On April 17th our Divisional and 
Brigadier Generals said good-bye to the regiment on 
parade, as the Division was about to be split up. That 
evening we said good-bye to the many good friends we 
had been associated with for many years, 

April ISth. 

The regiment marched from camp at 7 a.m., riding 
past the Gloucester Yeomanry and Sherwood Rangers 
Yeomanry, who gave us a good-bye cheer. So ended 
the old First South Midland Mounted Brigade, which 

15 



226 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

had existed many years prior to the war, of the Gloucester, 
Warwick and Worcester Yeomanries, the Warwick 
R.H.A., and the First South Midland Mounted Brigade 
Field Ambulance ; later, on formation of the old Second 
Mounted Division in August 1914, the Warwick R.H.A. 
were replaced by " B " Battery H.A.C., and thenceforward 
we were known simply as the First Mounted Brigade. 
After Gallipoli we became the Fifth Mounted Brigade; 
after the Battle of Romani our regiment became a 
kind of Corps cavalry to the Desert Column, when the 
latter still contained Infantry Divisions. After the Battle 
of Rafa, on the formation of Desert Mounted Corps, 
the Brigade was part of the Imperial Mounted Division, 
which consisted of the Fifth and Sixth Mounted Yeomanry 
Brigades and the Third and Fourth Australian Light 
Horse Brigades. Soon after the second Battle of Gaza 
the Australian Mounted Division came into being, and 
consisted of the Third and Fourth Australian Light Horse 
Brigades and the Fifth Mounted Brigade. But to-day 
the old Brigade had ceased to exist : the Warwicks were 
at that moment en route for France (they were submarined 
outside Alexandria and suffered heavy losses, including 
their Commanding Officer, who was formerly one of our 
majors), the Gloucester Yeomanry were about to be 
brigaded with two Indian regiments, our Field Ambulance 
was to be attached to an Indian Brigade, and the 
Worcester Yeomanry were to become Corps cavalry to 
General Sir Philip Chetwode, who commanded the 
Twentieth Corps, with Headquarters at Jerusalem. We 
all felt the parting very much, as we had many old friends 
in the other two regiments, with whom we had been in 
close contact for the last four years. 

After watering near Selme, we rode along the dusty 
Jaffa road to Ramleh, where we met large numbers of 
British and Indian infantry detraining near Ludd, chiefly 
units of the Seventh Division, which were taking over 
from the Fifty-second Division on the sea sector before 
Jaffa. This was the time of year when the country looked 
its fairest, as it had benefited by the winter rain and had 



PALESTINE 227 

not yet suffered from the really hot sun. At midday we 
halted in a small green Wadi full of the most beautiful 
flowers, those known as the Rose of Sharon predomin- 
ating ; it was right that we should find these in such 
profusion, as we were riding along the valley from which 
the flower takes its name. Passing through El Kubeb, 
the unit descended to Latron and bivouacked near the 
old monastery on the road which leads up the pass to 
Jerusalem ; everything was very peaceful and different 
to the last time that we had approached this valley, 
when shells were bursting on the road and the Seventy- 
fifth Division were scaling the hills on either side. An 
enormous donkey camp occupied our former site ; these 
donkeys were at this time used in thousands to supply 
the Infantry Divisions in the mountains with rations 
and water. 

April 19th to 25th. 

The regiment received orders from the Twentieth 
Corps, under whom we now were, to remain at Latron 
until further notice. At midday two of us rode out to 
Abu Shushar (the Biblical Gezer), where the Sixth 
Brigade had charged and taken 2,000 prisoners last 
year. Some very interesting cave-dwellings were to 
be seen, probably relics of the Stone Age. It was 
near here, so rumour had it, that the prophets had been 
taken and hidden by fifties in a cave. The whole of 
one side of the hill was honeycombed with tombs, hewn 
into the solid rock, the former being approached by 
narrow passages, often blocked with a large stone, and 
each containing one or two chambers, with stone coffins 
ranged round the sides. On another occasion the monas- 
tery of St. John of Latron was visited. This was the 
birthplace of the Penitent Thief. There was a fine 
monastery garden (which supplied fruit and veget- 
ables to the Twentieth Corps H.Q.), and the cool stone 
buildings included refectory, chapel, cloisters, cells 
and library ; in the latter place there were many old 
books, the best of which had been already looted. 



228 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Unfortunately for us, the wine in the extensive cellars 
had also been looted during the enemy occupation. The 
French Trappist monks, who had been expelled by the 
Turks, were now returning to occupy the monastery, 
which had been used by the Turks as an Agricultural 
College during the last three years. We arranged for the 
men to have baths in the enormous wine vats, as a 
plentiful supply of water was at hand. Later we climbed 
a hill, on whose summit was an ancient Crusader castle, 
which guarded the entrance to the Latron Valley, which 
led up to the Jerusalem pass. During the next few 
days we improved our camp, and were inspected by 
our Corps Commander. It was thought that we should 
now have a " cushy " time, living on the fat of the land, 
and merely providing a few escorts and patrols asked 
for by the Twentieth Corps. We were also told that 
being directly under Corps orders, all our indents for 
rations, stores and equipment would now be complied 
with without the slightest delay, as they would not have to 
pass through so many channels ; this, however, proved 
to be wrong. On April 24th we suddenly received orders 
to proceed with the Gloucester Yeomanry and Sherwood 
Rangers to Jerusalem on the following day. It appeared 
that two Divisions of cavalry were being hurried across 
the Jordan on account of certain Arab developments, 
and it was said that if a considerable number of mounted 
troops could join the Arabs on the Hedjaz Railway the 
Composite Force would be joined by all the tribes in the 
vicinity and would have an open road to Damascus. 
On the following day the temporarily reformed Fifth 
Mounted Brigade proceeded up the pass to Kuryat 
Enab, where we bivouacked just below the village. 

April 26th, 

Arrangements were made for pack transport for the 
whole Brigade, as the country through which we were 
about to traverse would not permit of wheels. At 6 p.m., 
now four regiments strong, we rode out through Beit 
Nakaba, Kulonie, and Lifta to Jerusalem. It was a 



PALESTINE 229 

wonderful mountain road, parts of which we had traversed 
some months ago, and was in some places cut into the 
side of the mountain, with often a clear drop of hundreds 
of feet to some little village, whose lights we could see 
twinkling in the valley below. Convoys of motor-lorries 
coming down the pass made things rather uncomfort- 
able for us mounted troops, especially when the precipice 
was on the right side. It was full moon, and the effect, 
as we climbed higher and higher, with the extraordinary 
shadows cast on the deep valleys, was very weird and 
beautiful. Miles ahead we could see our column wending 
its serpentine or zigzag course as the road steadily 
mounted to the Jerusalem plateau (2592). Although 
our patrols last year had been in the vicinity of the Holy 
City just before its capture, none of us had actually been 
there, and we were all naturally very anxious to see it. 
At 9.30 p.m. we reached the outskirts of the city, and, 
leaving the Jaffa Gate on our right, passed through the 
modern town just outside the ancient turreted walls. 
After descending a hill we passed Calvary and the Garden 
of Gethsemane, and then rode along another mountain 
road through a couple of small villages until the Mount 
of Olives was reached. It seemed a pity that we, who 
had been longing to see Jerusalem for the last three 
years, at our first visit had to pass through the town at 
a sharp trot by midnight. We halted for an hour at 
Bethany, which, owing to its exposed position and altitude, 
was bitterly cold ; however, fires were lit, tea was made, 
and we felt ready to continue our journey, many of us 
walking and leading our horses in order to get warm. 
The change in the temperature from the orange groves 
of Jaffa, which we had recently left, to the heights of 
Jerusalem was very marked. Soon after midnight we 
commenced our descent towards the Dead Sea Valley, 
dropping 1,000 feet between 12 and 2 a.m. 

April 27th. 

We were now on the historic Jericho road, a marvel 
of ancient engineering — at times cut into the face of 



280 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

the hills, and at others carried by an enormous causeway 
over a valley. The country grew bleaker and gloomier 
as we descended ; the mountains appeared in the moon- 
light to have huge gashes and clefts, as if some giant 
had deliberately hacked pieces out. We were in a sleepy 
condition, and had the weirdest impressions ; we seemed 
to be descending into a sort of Inferno, where nothing 
grew in the desolate surroundings. At 3 a.m. the ruined 
caravanserai of Talat El Dumm was reached, known as the 
inn of the Good Samaritan, as that episode is authen- 
tically stated to have occurred here. Talat El Dumm, 
translated, means " the Hill of Blood." The Brigade 
bivouacked a little lower down the valley, and everyone 
fell asleep on the hard rocks. On waking a few hours 
later we found that our camp was on the sloping rocky 
ground, just above the Jerusalem- Jericho road, with 
the frowning bleak mountains in the background. The 
enormous clefts which we had seen the night before 
seemed to have disappeared, and they were evidently 
a delusion caused by the moonlight. At midday the 
heat became terrific, as our camp was on solid rock 
surrounded by mountains, and after climbing about 
500 feet one had a wonderful view of the Dead Sea, 
Jordan Valley and Jericho, about 2,800 feet below. An 
hour later the whole Brigade marched down the road 
towards the Dead Sea level, dropping from 1,180 feet 
above sea-level to 1,200 feet below sea-level — a drop of 
nearly 2,400 feet in eight miles. After proceeding a short 
distance we took the old Roman, somewhat precipitous, 
road to the left, while the guns continued by the new 
Turkish and longer route on the right. The road was 
rough, and in many cases on the edge of a precipice, 
at the bottom of which we could see dead camels and 
transport which had toppled over. Amongst the rocks 
I noticed a wonderful fossilized tree -trunk, apparently 
almost complete. At times we saw enormous clefts in 
the rock which opened into valleys, extending down to 
the Dead Sea. The remains of a Roman aqueduct, 
which used to take the water from the mountains to 



• * * ' 



PALESTINE 231 

the Jericho plain, built into the sides of the valley, was 
also seen. In one of the above-mentioned clefts, which 
contained at the bottom the commencement of the Brook 
Cherith, now called the Wadi Kelt, were two hermits' 
houses, some 500 feet above the stream, with a giddy 
path leading down to the plains. Each of these habita- 
tions had been made by hewing away the face of the 
rock and was surmounted by a white cross. They 
reminded one of the stories in Sir Walter Scott's Talisman, 
At about 5 p.m. we emerged on to the Dead Sea plain, 
and immediately noticed the great heat after descending 
from the mountains. We found the Anzac Division 
Receiving Station on the site of Roman Jericho, close 
to the remains of Herod's castle : before us lay modern 
Jericho, now a mere village, and on the right the Dead 
Sea, as blue as any Italian lake, with frowning mountains 
to the east and west and the Jordan estuary to the north. 
We proceeded northwards, raising clouds of the acrid 
white dust which is one of the curses of the Jordan 
Valley, over the ruins of pre-Roman Jericho, passing on 
the left a large Greek monastery, which had been built 
into the side of the mountain some 500 feet above 
the track, the former being the Mount of Temptation, 
on which Our Lord was said to have been tempted by 
Satan. At first sight the monastery looked inaccessible, 
but on riding up to it one observed that there was a 
path up from the plains. This monastery appeared to 
be the only sign of civilization in this desolate place, 
and the chapel bell, which at that moment played its 
chimes, seemed a great contrast to our surroundings. 
We bivouacked north of the hill known as Tel Es Sultan, 
some miles west of the Jordan and south of its confluent 
Wadi Auja. A few small shells greeted us on arrival, 
but owing to the dusk we were not quite clear whether 
they came from one of our mountain batteries, which 
was said to be practising, or from the Turks ; in any 
case it was not worth while investigating the matter, as 
we were very tired after our long march, and we knew 
that there was an outpost line in front of us. The night 



232 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

was a hot one, and one could not help contrasting it with 
the previous night, when we had been shivering round 
the fires on the Mount of Olives. It was noticeable that 
soon after the sun had set a peculiarly unpleasant aroma 
seemed to be emitted from the ground, apparently due 
to sulphurous deposits in the latter. 

April 28th. 

During the morning one began to realize the extreme 

heat and discomfort of this Jordan Valley in the summer. 

There appeared to be no breeze until the afternoon, and 

the atmosphere seemed to weigh heavily upon one. The 

ground was dry and arid, and seemed to abound in 

tarantulas and scorpions. One wondered what this 

district would be like in July and August, when it was 

already so hot at the end of April. Our horses were 

taken back twice a day to the spot where the Wadi Kelt 

(Brook Cherith) emerged into the plains, for watering 

purposes. Across the Jordan we could occasionally see 

our shells exploding in the Turkish lines, and our own 

patrols, who had crossed the river, being shelled. In 

the evening some of us walked up towards the Imperial 

Camel Corps trenches to our north, and, climbing some 

hills near the Wadi Auja, actually found some signs of 

life, seeing a few hares and some sand-grouse ; the latter 

evidently were able to exist amongst the vegetation 

which bordered the banks of the Wadi. 

April 29th. 

At midday our plan of attack was explained and a 
conference of M.O.'s was also held. At 8 p.m., completely 
enveloped in clouds of thick pungent dust, the Brigade 
left camp and, passing through New Jericho, proceeded 
down towards the Jordan, making for the El Ghoraniye 
crossing. The latter was a few miles above the Dead 
Sea, and at this point the river ran very rapidly in a deep 
Wadi, bordered at the base of the cliffs by verdant foliage, 
which was almost tropical in character. As we approached 
the river-bed our road wound through weirdly shaped 



PALESTINE 233 

rocks, which had probably at some time been so fashioned 
when the mighty river was in flood, or possibly they were 
partly volcanic in origin. After crossing the pontoon 
bridge, which had been built by our infantry some 
months ago under heavy fire, we reached the Ghoraniye 
bridge-head, and, passing through our wire and outposts, 
halted west of Tel El Nimrim, near the stream of that 
name. We were told that just before dawn part of the 
Sixtieth Infantry Division, which held the bridge-head, 
would attack Nimrim, and while this diversion was in 
progress our Division would gallop some 6 miles along 
the east bank of the Jordan, under cover of the hills 
which the Turks held, and would then bear right-handed 
up the steep mountains towards the Hedjaz Railway. 
Perfect silence reigned, as it was hoped that the Turks 
were not aware of our intentions. 

April SOth. 

We were moved up closer to the enemy soon after 
midnight, but luckily were not spotted. At 3 a.m. the 
Sixtieth Division suddenly attacked Nimrim, and a 
pandemonium broke out on both sides. The enemy 
sent up their Verey lights and star-shells, and the crack 
of the rifles and the explosions of hand grenades added 
to the din caused by the guns. Just before dawn we 
were ordered to mount, and then galloped some 4 
miles across the enemy's guns, who suddenly became 
aware of us in the half-light and started to shell the 
Division, which was galloping by regiments. Luckily, 
however, we were riding in very extended order and suffered 
little. As it got light we arrived at the entrance to what 
was known as the Um Esh Shert-Es Salt track, which 
was successfully seized. The Divisional Collecting Station 
was later in the day located at this point, with the 
Divisional Receiving Station at Ghoraniye. We were 
now in the foothills, and suffered a little from enemy 
snipers on the peaks to the north. As we ascended, 
the track became steeper and steeper, and for several 
hours everyone had to lead his horse along the narrowest 



234 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

goat-track. This and another track to the south were 
the only ways of approaching Es Salt, as the Turks 
held the highroad through Shunet Nimrim to Jericho. 
Meanwhile the rest of the Division, less one regiment, 
which was ascending the track on our right, swept on 
to the north amongst the foothills, whilst the Anzac 
Mounted Division co-operated on the other side of Shunet 
Nimrim. After climbing about 3,000 feet we found 
ourselves in the clear atmosphere again, which was a 
pleasant change compared with the Jordan Valley, and 
we were able to see Jerusalem to the west, with the 
Dead Sea far below us. We had a few casualties, caused 
by snipers on the opposite heights, and on one occasion 
I had to make a detour of some miles up and down hill 
over unrideable country in order to reach one of our men 
who had ascended by a different path. On arrival we 
found him dead, but owing to the very rocky nature of 
the ground it was impossible to bury him. However, 
his companions covered him with a wealth of the most 
beautiful flowers, and built a rough tomb with the large 
rocks which were lying about. A little later I foimd 
myself with one of our machine guns, and watched them 
pick off an enemy machine gun detachment on an opposite 
hill, some 1,000 yards away, a tremendous valley inter- 
vening. We had now lost the rest of the unit, as the 
latter was very scattered, and as it was impossible to 
ride by compass bearing upon Es Salt on account of the 
very broken ground, we joined the mountain battery 
which was attached to our Brigade. Our own R.H.A. 
battery, together with the others belonging to the 
Division, had remained in the foothills, where they were 
attacked and lost heavily the following day, as they were 
unable to get their guns up the goat-tracks. The moun- 
tain battery, however, which carried its guns on sturdy 
little mules, was able to go almost anywhere. One could 
not help thinking that if we met the enemy with their 
field guns we should be at a considerable disadvantage 
with our one little battery. After climbing higher we 
passed through numerous small valleys, which were 



PALESTINE 235 

thickly studded with flowers, enormous hollyhocks up to 
twelve feet high and large oleander-trees preponderating. 
At one moment an ibex flashed across our view, and now 
and then a hare was disturbed. At length we reached 
a fertile plateau, some 3,000 feet above the Dead Sea. 
Here we fell in with the rest of our Brigade, and also 
our two Meccan guides, who were supposed to lead us 
to the Beni Sakhr tribe, who were in sympathy with the 
Arab army from the Hedjaz. It appeared that the 
Sherwoods had had the most casualties during our climb, 
as they had rather drawn the enemy's fire by going up 
the first (Arsenyat) track from the valley. Rumour had 
it that Es Salt had fallen to an Australian Brigade, which 
had advanced on our left; accordingly, at 1 p.m., after 
watering our horses in the abundant streams, orders 
were given to march on the town. Before us lay a defile 
some miles long, which it was understood led almost 
to our goal. Brigade Headquarters and the Gloucester 
Yeomanry entered the valley, and we followed a little 
later. Unfortunately some enemy machine guns, which 
had been bothering us from across a valley during our 
ascent, had not been completely disposed of, and as soon 
as we had entered the valley we found ourselves under 
fire from behind and on our right. For a time the 
Sherwood Rangers, who were to follow us, were cut off, 
and the head of our column appeared to be hemmed in 
by other enemy machine guns. The position seemed 
to be distinctly unfortunate, as we were hemmed in in 
front and behind, and ascertained that Es Salt had not 
fallen after all. It appeared to me that if the enemy 
could direct any volume of fire into the defile our small 
force might be annihilated. We found a wire running 
from Es Salt to Nimrim and cut it, our patrols eventually 
dealing with the enemy machine guns in our rear, and 
thus allowing the Sherwood Rangers to join up with us. 
Some wounded, however, with the bearer party of the 
Field Ambulance were cut off, but managed to get down 
the Um Shert track when night arrived. After riding 
another 2 miles or so our defile opened out into a 



236 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

considerable valley, and one felt able to breathe again. 
Strong patrols were put out at night around the sides 
and ends of the valley, but one still felt that in our packed 
condition the enemy might, with a few guns, end our 
existence. No fires were lit, but a comfortable night 
was spent lying in the luxuriant grass. We had a few 
prisoners with us, who were very uncommunicative, and 
it was decided to attack Es Salt, now about 2 miles 
distant, on foot at dawn. 

May \st. 

We advanced to the attack at 5 a.m. in the half-light, 
climbing up the little terraced gardens which were built 
on the side of the hill. However, the First Squadron 
over the final ridge found the town evacuated, conse- 
quently the remainder of us rode down the Ammam 
road and entered Es Salt. It was picturesquely situated 
in a sort of ravine, and was of considerable size, a fine 
old arched bridge crossing a mountain torrent which 
ran through the centre of the town. The houses were 
well built, and were clustered together on the side of 
the hill. On arrival we found that there were still ten 
Germans and a Uhlan captain in a house with a machine 
gun, who gave considerable trouble until they were 
eventually subdued by one of our mountain guns. It 
is probable that these Germans were telephoning final 
news to their Headquarters at Ammam before surrender- 
ing. It was said that our Division had taken about 
320 prisoners, and that the remainder of the force had 
escaped eastwards with Djemal Pasha to Ammam, and 
westwards to Nimrim, which had not yet fallen. We 
also captured some lorries full of 5*9 shells, and one or 
two motor-cars with their German drivers, which were 
useful to us later on for carrying wounded. We were 
now on a good road again, but both ends of it were held 
by the enemy. The inhabitants of Es Salt appeared to 
view us with suspicion ; they knew that the British had 
captured the town about two months previously, and 
then had been forced to evacuate it, and it was highly 



PALESTINE 237 

probable that those natives who had then openly sided 
with us had not been too well treated by the Turk on 
his return. The British were now again in possession, 
but this time the native was not going to take any risks, 
although he was told that he might come under our 
protection. After watering just below the town we 
moved off down the Jericho road, along which some of 
the Turks had escaped a short time before, and who 
had now joined their garrison near Shunet Nimrim. 
After riding a couple of miles we bivouacked at the side 
of the valley overlooking the Wadi Shaib ; the latter was 
a little mountain torrent which ran through Es Salt, 
and then down along the valley on the left of the Jericho 
road, finally joining the Nimrim brook and flowing into 
the Jordan. Numerous small tributaries joined it on each 
side, and every mile or so one came across a primitive 
stone water-mill. The road was in our hands from Es 
Salt to the spot where it crossed the Wadi Shaib by an 
arched bridge at Howeij, the latter being the name of 
a very strong position held by the enemy and successfully 
blocking the road at this point. The bridge was mined, 
and the hills on both sides of it were held by the Turks. 
During the day there was some shelling and a little 
sniping near the bridge, as our regiment was on outpost 
duty, preventing the enemy from advancing farther up 
the Shaib Valley. It was said that the Turks had now 
reversed some of their Nimrim guns, and were firing 
eastwards instead of westwards. At night-time we became 
aware that we were being shelled from the Ammam 
direction also. 

May 2nd. 

The position was now a curious one. We had captured 
Es Salt, Divisional Headquarters were in that town, two 
Australian and our Yeomanry Brigade were disposed 
around it, and the enemy was attacking us from Ammam 
and Howeij. The infantry division had, after heavy 
casualties, failed to open up the road through Nimrim, 
El Haud and Howeij to the Shaib Valley. The track 



238 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

we had come up by had been closed by the enemy, who 
had drawn a sort of net round us. It had been hoped 
that by the time we had captured Es Salt it would have 
been possible to open up communication with the Jordan 
Valley by the Jericho road, which was a good one and 
capable of carrying heavy transport. Our intervening 
position on this road, between Ammam and Howeij, 
prevented the enemy to a certain extent from getting 
supplies and ammunition, although they were able to 
get a certain amount of both by circumventing us to 
the south-east. It was evident that the enemy would 
do his best to join hands with the Ammam force, and by 
so doing annihilate our Division. At 9 a.m. it was 
decided by our Divisional General in Es Salt that the 
Howeij bridge and position must be forced and the road 
opened to the Jordan Valley. Rations for men and 
horses were finished, but there was still some grazing, 
and we had managed to seize a few cattle belonging to 
the natives. The two Australian Brigades being already 
busily occupied, one of them holding off the Turkish 
Ammam force, it fell to our Brigade to attempt the 
task of taking Howeij hill. On walking a short distance 
along the road above the Wadi Shaib, one could see a 
few miles away the position which we were to attack — 
a steep grassy hill some 300 feet high, with a large open 
valley before it, lined by a number of guns, whose shells 
were falling on the road below. Orders were issued to 
the Gloucester Yeomanry to advance on the right of the 
road and take up a position a few hundred yards from 
the bridge. The Sherwood Rangers and the Worcester 
Yeomanry were ordered to attack the hill on the left of 
the road and, if successful, open up the latter to Jericho. 
After leaving our horses in the bivouac in the valley we 
were a very small force, and taking with us only the 
Hotchkiss gun pack-horses, we proceeded under the 
cliffs of the Wadi Shaib for a short distance, but soon 
discovered that we should be under observation the whole 
way to our objective. Accordingly, we struck east for 
some four hours, climbing up and down the mountain 




a - 



(U 






M 0) 



.V:;^;-. 



PALESTINE 289 

sides, and crossing many beautiful glens and streams? 
bordered by masses of giant oleanders, hollyhocks and 
roses, until we eventually reached a high position whence 
we could see our objective, the guns on which were 
shelling the troops on the right-hand side of the valley. 
The Turks had several 5*9 guns in action, our only artil- 
lery being the little mountain mule battery, which was 
in action behind the Gloucesters. One could not help 
feeling that our attack was doomed to failure ; we were 
two regiments, far below strength, about to cross an open 
valley and then ascend a grassy hill, which was so steep 
that it would be difficult to obtain a foothold. How- 
ever, the order had been given and the attack must be 
carried out. We had been unable to keep our Hotchkiss 
guns with us, as some hours before the ascent had been 
so steep that one horse had slipped and gone hurtling 
down to the valley below, and the rest were unable to 
get any further. As we took a breather for ten minutes 
preparatory to the attack, sitting amongst the most 
beautiful flowers, under a cloudless blue sky, one realized 
what a waste it would be that very soon many of us 
would be lying dead in the valley below, never able to 
enjoy the beauties of nature again. During this brief 
interval the Turkish cavalry were seen on a ridge to 
our left, and the order was given to advance. As we 
descended the hill in very open order and began to cross 
the valley, we were met with very heavy H.E. and shrapnel 
fire, which apparently came from behind the Howeij 
hill. Every rock, behind which we naturally took cover 
as we advanced, seemed to be marked, the second shell 
killing two of our officers and casualties resulting in 
every part of the field. A little later, rifle fire broke out, 
but we were unable to see a single one of the enemy, 
and, as one of our men remarked, they could have kept 
us off that steep hill simply by rolling stones down on 
to us. My first batch of casualties I collected in a cave, 
and then with some difficulty slid them down a steep 
grassy bank some 100 feet to the stream below ; this 
we found was the Wadi Shaib, and we established a 



240 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

dressing station in a little stone water-mill. Unfortu- 
nately, as more wounded were collected there, the Turks 
noticed the concentration and dropped a shell on to the 
roof of the mill, and even at this moment a badly wounded 
man burst out laughing when his companion was covered 
with flour. Meanwhile our attack was progressing, but 
it soon became evident that no live man could ever reach 
the top of Howeij hill. The mill being now untenable 
as a dressing station, we transferred our wounded with 
some difficulty through the mill-stream, which was four 
feet deep, to the opposite side. We had only got our 
small cavalry stretchers, but these proved invaluable 
over the rocky ground, and by relays the wounded were 
carried through some fields to the main road just behind 
the barricade held by some Gloucester stalwarts. 
Although we had some more men wounded while our 
stretcher parties were ascending to the road, as soon as 
we were identified as stretcher parties the enemy ceased 
to shell us. The road having been reached, we placed 
our wounded in some of the German motor-cars, driven 
by Germans, and evacuated the former to Es Salt. On 
returning to collect our last wounded from the mill under 
Howeij hill, we found that the remains of our regiment 
and the Sherwoods had been forced to retire, as the 
task before them was absolutely impossible. The whole 
attack was doomed to failure, and the veriest tyro standing 
on the opposite hill would have realized that such a small 
body of men would be unable to take the position, which 
was so strongly held. We were unable to collect our 
dead, but managed eventually to bring all the wounded 
in under cover of the well-grown barley. On returning 
along the road some 3 miles towards our old bivouac, 
a few final shells fell amongst us from the Howeij hill 
as we straggled along. It had been a sad and tiring 
day, a forlorn hope doomed to failure from the first, 
and we had nothing to show except casualties. Austra- 
lian Brigades had co-operated and tried to get through 
in our vicinity, but we were unable to see them during 
the day. At night our rations had given out, but we 



PALESTINE 241 

were able to make a fairly decent meal out of goats and 
green figs. A message was read from an official source 
saying that Es Salt must be held at all costs, and that 
reinforcements for the Turks were fast approaching from 
Ammam. 

May Srd, 

It appeared that we were completely cut off, owing to 
the nature of the ground and the Turkish reinforcements. 
During the morning, rifle and gun fire seemed to come 
from all directions, and later on Fritz bombed us up 
and down the Es Salt-Shaib Valley. An uneasy feeling 
prevailed, especially as it became known that large 
reinforcements were on their way from Damascus, via 
Ammam, and some fighting took place on the Ammam 
road between an Australian Brigade and Turkish infantry 
during the afternoon. Our mounted patrols, who were 
high up on the hill on the opposite side of our valley, 
reported the presence of some Turkish cavalry regiments 
on the mountains a few miles away. At 6 p.m. secret 
orders were issued to each regiment that it was to make 
the best of its way to the Jordan Valley, which sounded 
like a general sauve qui peut Our Second-in-Command 
had a short time before managed to reconnoitre a fresh 
track towards the west, and it devolved upon him to 
act as guide to the Brigade. At 6.30 p.m. part of a donkey 
convoy of biscuits, which had been some days en route, 
managed to get through to us, escorted by a few Indian 
cavalry and yeomanry, a troop of which had been cut 
up. The Turkish hospital at Es Salt was now full of 
wounded from our two Divisions (Anzac and Australian 
Mounted), and the question was how to get them and 
our prisoners through the enemy's cordon down to the 
Jordan plain. The wounded men were tied on to horses 
and camels and sent down the only partially opened 
track under escort, before the main body moved. They 
were attacked, chiefly by irregulars, and had to fight their 
way through : it must have been an awful journey for 
the badly wounded, especially when their horses were 

16 






242 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

stampeded by some Bedouin, who suddenly opened fire 
on them. At 7 p.m. we called our mounted patrols down 
from the opposite hills, and an hour later, after making up 
large camp fires, we left our bivouac and proceeded along 
the highroad on the right of the Wadi Shaib. It was 
our regiment's duty to do rear-guard, and when the usual 
halts, owing to the blocking of the road by someone in 
front, took place one felt very uncomfortable, as it was 
expected that the enemy, as soon as they found our camp 
empty, would charge down the road. Before reaching 
the barricade across the road, near the Howeij bridge, 
our column turned right-handed and struck a track 
across very broken country, which was particularly 
difficult to negotiate in the pitch dark. 

May Uh, 

By 2 a.m. our Brigade had assembled in a cup-shaped 
depression on the top of the mountain, where commenced 
the Arsenyat track towards the Jordan. At 5 a.m. we 
were aware of other Australian Brigades on neighbouring 
hills, and the descent conunenced. Each Brigade atnd 
regiment fought a rear-guard in turns, as the Turks were 
now pursuing us, at the same time picketing the hills 
on either side in order to protect the unit whose turn 
it was to go first ; the latter then picketed the next hills 
and allowed the regiments which were following to pass 
through. The Turks, who had got wind of our intention, 
and were out in considerable numbers and with machine 
guns and mountain guns on the various peaks, tried to 
hinder our retreat. Most of the way it was a gallop 
across very rocky ground and down descents where in 
quieter moments one would probably have led one's 
horse. Every now and then, as one came round a corner, 
one would find oneself under fire from some little moun- 
tain gun, the explosions of whose shells had a very 
small range and did not do much harm. Our outposts 
on the heights kept off the enemy infantry to the last 
moment, and then came scuttling down to join our main 
body. Our wounded we had to tie on to horses and get 



PALESTINE 243 

them along as best we could. As the sun rose Fritz 
came over and added to our discomfiture by bombing 
us as we descended the narrow ravines. Much equip- 
ment was lost, and the tracks in our wake were strewn 
with tin hats, sun-helmets, ammunition, dead horses, 
etc., but on the whole it was said the retirement was 
carried out according to plan. As we descended one 
felt the awful Dead Sea atmosphere again — a great con- 
trast from the clear mountain air which we had been 
living in for the last few days. My last casualty we picked 
up just before debouching into the plain, and it was an 
uncomfortable sensation remaining behind while attending 
to him and tying him on to a horse, as Fritz was still 
overhead and the enemy, who were following our retreat, 
were still busy. However, our Brigade Commander was 
the last to leave the hills, and would not gallop into the 
plain imtil he had seen his three regiments clear. As 
our small party eventually made its appearance in the 
open, we were met by a salvo from the Turkish guns, 
but by galloping in extended order we managed to put 
about 4 miles between us and the hills » in a very short 
time. Our escape from the hills to the plain was facili- 
tated by the Sixtieth Division, who diverted the enemy's 
attention to a large extent by attacking Shunet Nimrim 
and the hills on the right of the Arsenyat track. After 
watering in the Nimrim brook, close to the spot where 
it flows into the Jordan, we crossed the latter river by 
the pontoon bridge, and after a long ride over the dusty 
plain eventually arrived at our old bivouac below Tel 
El Sultan, behind the Wadi Auja outpost line. With 
the exception of the prisoners captured by our force, 
some of whom had been killed by the fire from their own 
guns as they were driven before us into the plain, the 
whole thing had been a costly failure. It had been a 
gamble on the fall of Nimrim and on the assistance of 
the Arabs which did not mature, consequently a quick 
retirement had to be undertaken in order to prevent 
further disaster. We now heard of the experiences 
which our Third and Fourth Brigades had had when 



1 



244 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

they were pushed up east of Jordan towards the north. 
When they had passed the Hne held by the Imperial 
Camel Corps west of Jordan, on the opposite bank, and 
were engaged with the enemy, the latter, crossing the 
river from the western side by a pontoon bridge, had 
attacked them in the rear. Two batteries which accom- 
panied these Brigades had suffered heavily while in the 
foothills, and had to abandon seven of their guns. Some 
of our dismounted men whom we had left in camp a 
week ago had been called out with various oddments in 
order to strengthen these Brigades, and they told us 
how the enemy cavalry had pursued them during the 
retreat. It now appeared that the whole of our sudden 
move had a political meaning. On April 23rd a Meccan 
force of 7,000 rifles were said to have captured Madeba 
(18 miles south-west of Ammam), and it was reported 
that the Arabs east of Jordan, including the Beni Sakhr 
tribe, were ready to side with us. Hence the hurry and 
rush from Jaffa to Jericho in order to clear up the Es 
Salt-Madeba-Ammam triangle, as it was said that it 
only needed a spark from the British mounted troops 
to set the whole country ablaze and finally destroy the 
Hedjaz Railway. But the result had been a fiasco; one 
wondered whether the whole thing had not been a 
German or Turkish ruse. Had the Meccans ever taken 
Madeba ? Was the message sent through native sources 
merely in order to lure our troops on while large rein- 
forcements were coming down the railway line to Ammam ? 
A few days later we read the following " official " in the 
Egyptian News : 

Between April 30th and May 4th a mixed force of cavalry and 
infantry carried out a successful operation east of Jordan. The 
enemy, who were holding a strong position defending the Ghoraniye- 
Es Salt road, about Shunet Nimrim, were contained by our infantry, 
whilst the cavalry, moving rapidly northwards up the east bank 
of the Jordan, entered Es Salt from the north and west. Three 
hundred and thirty prisoners, including 33 Germans, were 
taken, and much valuable war material, including six motor- 
lorries and a motor-car, was destroyed. During the night of the 
3rd-4th May we withdrew to the plain on the east bank of Jordan, 



PALESTINE 245 

and on the night of the 4th-5th May our troops returned to their 
positions on the original bridge-head. During the operation our 
total captures amounted to 46 officers and 885 O.R.'s and 29 
machine guns. 

This somewhat bald narrative did not quite coincide 
with our experiences, and few of us would have described 
the operation, at any rate the part we saw, as " success- 
ful." It was said that most of the machine guns captured 
had been found packed in cases at Es Salt, where they 
had been left. We wondered what the native population 
of Es Salt would think when the next raid took place 
and we occupied the town again. We were afraid that 
the chits on which we had requisitioned for goats and 
sheep would not be honoured by the Turkish commander ! 

For the next week we remained in the same position, 
our Division suffering considerably from Fritz's visits, one 
Brigade sustaining as many as eighty casualties in four 
days. An attack was daily expected on the Auja outpost 
line, west of Jordan, at that time held by the Imperial 
Camel Corps, and our regiments took it in turn to provide 
working parties and reinforcements. Several Indian 
Cavalry Brigades arrived in the valley, and were amalga- 
mated with the yeomanry regiments in a proportion of 
two to one. We were taken out of the Fifth Mounted 
Brigade, which had been temporarily re-formed, and 
the latter now became a composite brigade, consisting 
of the Gloucesters and two native cavalry regiments. 
Every day the heat seemed to increase, and yet we were 
not really into the summer yet. Scorpions, tarantulas, 
mosquitoes, flies, dust and thorns, and the oppressive 
heat will ever remain in one's memory when one thinks 
of the old Jordan Valley. In the evening we used to 
climb the hills on our left and get a view over the Wadi 
Auja towards Redhill, held by the Turks. On these 
walks one saw a certain amount of animal life, including 
vultures, who nested amongst the rocks, rock-pigeons 
and hares. On May 10th we received orders to rejoin 
the Twentieth Corps, with Headquarters at Jerusalem, 



246 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Needless to say, everyone was delighted at the prospect 
of getting into the mountains again, although we had 
had such a comparatively short time in the valley. At 
five o'clock we left our camp, riding for the first 3 
miles through such thick white dust that one had difficulty 
in keeping one's direction, inhaling the sickening sul- 
phurous stench which one generally notices in the Dead 
Sea Valley at sunset. Following the ancient Roman 
road through modern Jericho, we rode along the shore 
of the Dead Sea for a while, and then, ascending by the 
new Turkish road from — 12,000 to + 14,000 feet, reached 
Talaat El Dumm, below the inn of the Good Samaritan, 
just before midnight. On the way up many Indian 
cavalry regiments were passed, who were on their way 
down to the Jordan. Latron was eventually reached in 
the early morning of May 13th, after traversing the now 
well-known road from Dumm through Jerusalem and 
Enab, marching by night and sleeping by day. The 
Sherwood Rangers now left us and marched to Jaffa, 
while for the next month we remained in camp at Latron, 
where grazing was good, the unit undertaking the various 
duties which devolved on it as a Corps cavalry regiment. 
We were kept down here and not at Jerusalem on account 
of water difficulties at the latter place and the absence 
of level ground suitable for horse lines. Bilharzia having 
been discovered in the Latron brook, from which we 
took our drinking water, the usual precautions had to 
be taken in order to avoid infection. The Imperial Camel 
Corps bivouacked in our vicinity for the night, being 
on their way to rest after a very strenuous two months 
in the Jordan Valley. About 2 miles west of our camp 
the tracks forked to Jaffa and Junction Station, and 
at this point a considerable hill was situated, on the 
summit of which were the remains of what looked like 
an ancient temple. On several occasions two of us 
climbed this hill and found an old vulture perched on 
the ruins ; from this point he had a splendid view, and 
evidently kept a look out for any camels who might 
collapse on either of the roads. He was a wary old bird. 



PALESTINE 247 

and we were never able to get near enough in order to 
shoot him with our revolvers. We had often noted 
previously how, if a camel or horse died overnight and 
was left cut open, the vultures and jackals would only 
leave the bones on the following day. Sometimes one 
would see a crowd of jackals satiated with food lying 
around the carcass, but yet growling and trying to prevent 
the vultures from partaking in the feast. 

At this time we did not suffer much from Fritz, but our 
own anti-aircraft guns were somewhat troublesome; several 
of the latter's shells fell in our camp without exploding, 
but on one occasion a shell exploded in the horse lines 
on striking the ground, and wounded the horses and also 
one man very seriously. We were used to small frag- 
ments and shell-cases from our " Archies " falling on 
us, but complete shells were too much of a good thing. 
One afternoon, when most of us were having a siesta, 
we watched a very exciting air fight overhead. Even- 
tually our own aeroplane drove the German down, and 
the latter landed about a mile away. Everyone who was 
awake seized a horse off the line and galloped towards 
the scene. However, we were too late, as, just before 
arriving, the two Germans had set fire to their aeroplane. 
A few minutes later a car arrived from our Ramleh 
aerodrome, which took them away. 

Our Second-in-Command, having ridden over the hill 
known as Abu Shushar (Biblical Gezer) during the advance 
last autumn, had noted the large number of tombs and 
excavations on it. Now that we were encamped in the 
vicinity we decided to investigate these tombs in our spare 
time and carry out some excavations. After interviewing 
the Omdah of the village, we engaged two natives, known 
as Ibrahim and Hassan, to assist us. The latter was 
able to explain, in Arabic, that he had assisted a certain 
" Macleest " in his excavations some years ago, and it 
eventually turned out that he referred to that eminent 
archaeologist. Professor Macalister. In order to obtain 
all the local information we could with regard to these 
excavations, we called on the abbot of the monastery 



248 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

at Latron, who, with a few monks, had recently returned 
after their exile during the Turkish occupation. The 
conversation was carried on in French, and our host 
told us that he formerly possessed a very fine collection 
of coins which had been found in the neighbourhood. 
He told us that Abu Shushar (Gezer) extended over five 
stages in the world's history, and that the remains of 
four towns had been found one on the top of the other : 
(1) The Stone Age, as shown by the caves cut into the 
rock, with very small openings in order to prevent the 
larger wild animals from entering, and containing stone 
implements, etc. ; (2) a Canaanite town ; (3) the Egyptian 
period, during the captivity of the Jews ; (4) the Jewish 
period, when the Maccabeans made the town a very 
strong fortress and, during a siege, drove an enormous 
shaft down into the bowels of the earth in order to 
obtain water. It was during this period that some king 
gave his daughter to Solomon, and added Abu Shushar 
as a dowry. Most of the stone vaults were cut out at 
that time. (5) The Greco-Roman period. For several 
days we rode over every afternoon in order to carry on 
our excavations, but unfortunately we were very ignorant 
as to the type of tomb we happened to be opening. In 
almost every case the entrance to the tomb was entirely 
obliterated, and it was only after digging away a certain 
amount of earth that we were able to discover the large 
rock which usually blocked the entrance. It appeared 
that many of them had been previously opened and then 
carefully closed again, and one could not help wondering 
whether this had not taken place thousands of years 
ago. We found a number of skeletons, which I was able 
to reconstruct, and a small number of late Roman coins, 
lamps, broken pottery, pieces of old glass, and occasion- 
ally very thin gold sequins, probably part of a dress. 
In every case the vaults were full of very fine mould, 
and we came to the conclusion that this had silted in 
during the last few thousand years on account of the 
cracks in the walls of the tombs, caused probably by 
seismic disturbances. One noticed that underground the 



PALESTINE 249 

limestone rock was comparatively soft and could have 
been cut out with flint instruments ; where, however, 
it had been exposed to the air it was as hard as granite. 
While exploring underground we always had our orderlies, 
who were looking after our horses, watching the hole 
by which we had descended, as we did not quite trust 
some of our local assistants. On arriving one afternoon, 
when our Second-in-Command was away on a recon- 
naissance, I found that Ibrahim and Hassan had 
brought their wives and children with them ; the latter 
worked well and passed up the baskets of earth from one 
to another, while our Sudanese syce, who was interpreting 
for me, assisted in the sifting of the soil for antiquities. 
A little French Jew made his appearance during the 
afternoon, and asked if he also had permission to exca- 
vate. Naturally this was refused, and he appeared the 
next day with a long rigmarole about his being the agent 
for some colonization society to whom the land belonged. 
Eventually he became so troublesome that he had to 
be thrown down the hill; but this had an unfortunate 
sequel. A few days later our CO. received an order 
from H.Q. L. of C. to stop any of his officers who might 
be carrying on excavations at Abu Shushar ; however, 
we were able to fmd another locality and continued our 
work for some weeks. 

At this time there were a considerable number of 
eases of snake-bite occurring in the Twentieth Corps, 
and it was said that recently three out of four men 
who had been bitten died at a neighbouring Casualty 
Clearing Station. A few days after this an order 
was received from the D.D.M.S. of the Corps to the 
following effect : " Medical officers are requested to 
collect any snakes they may see and forward them to 
Headquarters in order that an anti-venene may be 
produced ; it is particularly requested that these snakes 
may be killed without destroying the brain or spinal 
cord." At the time one did not consider these instruc- 
tions anything out of the ordinary, but when one put 
them into practice one discovered later how difficult it 



250 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

was to comply with them. We had seen a fair number of 

snakes during the last month or so, and I now instructed 

my orderly to inform me when the next snake was seen 

in our camp. A few days later, while at breakfast, I 

was called down to the horse lines, where I found a large 

black snake, some ten feet long, pinned down with two 

swords. One of our officers who had served in the Sudan 

and South Africa identified the snake as a very poisonous 

one known as the Black Mamba ; the natives also agreed 

that it was a dangerous snake, and could not be persuaded 

to approach it. As the head and some two feet of the 

snake were free of the first sword, we managed to catch 

the former with some wire-nippers and transfix it also 

with another sword. Eventually the whole snake was 

pinned out on the grass with some six swords piercing 

its body, but not interfering with the spinal cord. I 

now remembered my instructions, namely, that the snake 

must be killed without injuring brain or cord. Sending 

for a bottle of chloroform, we solemnly anaesthetized our 

patient, eventually giving it a considerable overdose 

and pouring an ounce into its mouth, which was held 

open by means of wire-nippers. The snake was now 

inert, and was rolled up in a large native fig-basket ready 

for removal by D.R.L.S.^ to Headquarters at Jerusalem. 

An hour later a horrified orderly met me, saying that 

the snake had come to life again ! On going down to the 

medical tent we found that this was true, and that the 

snake was slowly emerging from the basket, apparently 

none the worse for its experience. One felt inclined 

not to obey the instructions this time, but to cut off its 

head with a convenient spade. However, in this fourth 

year of war one had learnt to obey, so we determined to 

take other measures. Again we went through the same 

performance, but after the snake had been pinned down 

I determined to take no chances, and with a couple of 

farriers holding the snake's head with their pincers, I 

emptied one pound of Burgoyne's best army chloroform 

into the reptile's mouth ; he didn't seem to like the drink, 

but was compelled to swallow it, and appeared to be 

1 Dispatch rider. 



PALESTINE 251 

stone dead when the bottle was empty. However, this 
time we were not going to give him time to come to life ; 
he was packed into his fig-basket, which was securely- 
tied up with ropes and was placed on the back of a 
dispatch rider's motor-cycle, which dashed off up the 
Latron road to Jerusalem. Half an hour later another 
D.R.L.S., who must have passed ours on the road, 
brought me an urgent note from Corps Headquarters : 

" Re my . Sufficient snakes have been received 

for this purpose, and no more are required, please." We 
often wondered what happened to our snake, and whether 
he ever came to life again, but thought it wiser not to 
investigate the matter any further. One evening, while 
opening an old tomb near our camp, we came across a 
still larger Black Mamba, which moved with lightning 
speed. Somehow our interest in the antiquities which 
might be discovered in that particular area seemed to 
fade away after that incident. 

During these days frequent parties were made up to 
view the holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The 
Fast Hotel near the Jaffa Gate had been taken over by 
the Army and Navy Canteen Board, and seemed quite 
a luxurious place to stay the night at. The guides, 
many of whom spoke English, did quite a good trade 
after their enforced idleness for the last four years. 
The Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem seemed to 
interest us most, as this appeared to be by far the most 
authentic of all the holy places. It seems unnecessary 
here to record one's impressions of the Holy City, as so 
much has been written on this subject, and this diary 
is written merely in order to narrate the experiences of 
the author and the regiment with which he was. While 
on one of these visits to Jerusalem, two of us suddenly 
received news that we had been granted leave to the 
U.K., as home leave is called in the Army. Many of us 
had had no home leave since we had left England in 
April 1915, and were naturally very excited at the pros- 
pect. The question was how to get down to Alexandria 
in order to catch the boat to which we had been detailed. 
The following morning, early, a passing Ford car, which 



252 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

was travelling from the Dead Sea to Jaffa, was stopped 
and commandeered, as it only contained the driver. 
The latter apparently was in a hurry to complete his 
journey, and we experienced a most thrilling descent as 
we zigzagged down the pass, whirling round the hairpin 
corners, often with a drop of hundreds of feet to the right 
or left. Our driver cheered us up by telling us how a 
few weeks ago the steering gear of a Ford car had refused 
to act on a similar road, with disastrous results to the 
occupants of the car. However, Latron was eventually 
reached, and we started on our journey from railhead at 
Ludd on the evening of June 21st. Three days later we 
embarked on the transport Rose, in Alexandria harbour, 
one of a convoy of three small boats which were taking 
an infantry battalion en route for France, and a few officers 
on leave, to Taranto. The three boats left the harbour 
at dusk, accompanied by five destroyers. There had 
been a considerable number of transports sunk outside 
the harbour, and consequently we had to stand to our 
stations for some two hours lest a similar fate should 
befall us ; at the same time the destroyers emitted an 
enormous amount of smoke, which we imagined was to 
act as a screen. On account of this submarine menace 
we were compelled to wear our life-belts all day. After 
passing through the Corinth Ship Canal, about four days 
later, we emerged into the Straits, and were met by some 
French destroyers, which escorted us to Taranto, the 
latter place being reached after an uneventful journey. 
Taranto had at this time become an enormous rest camp, 
as it was the port of embarkation for all troops proceeding 
to Salonika, Palestine, Mesopotamia and India. After 
a few days' delay a leave train was made up, and we 
travelled by the usual route, along the east coast of Italy, 
and thence through Bologna to Genoa, Havre being reached 
after about ten days' railway travelling, the latter being 
broken by a couple of days' rest at the Mediterranean 
L. of C. Rest Camps at Faenza and St. Germain au 
Mont d'Or, near Lyons. 



CHAPTER V 

ITALY 

On August 3rd, in company with two other Medical 
Officers who had also received orders to join the British 
armies in Italy, I crossed to Havre from Southampton 
on an American transport, which was crowded with 
United States troops. On arrival we were ordered to 
report at Padua, in spite of our protests, as we knew 
that that town had been evacuated by the Headquarters 
of the Italian Expeditionary Force. Three days later 
Turin was reached and we again received orders to pro- 
ceed to Padua ; on arrival at the latter town on the 
following night we found, as we expected, no orders 
and no signs of any British troops. However, as we had 
not been in this mediaeval town before, a couple of inter- 
esting days were spent visiting the old place, which had 
suffered to a slight extent from recent bombing. As the 
result of our telephoning up and down the line we received 
orders to proceed to Vicenza, and accordingly set out 
for that town. However, on reporting, we were told that 
nothing was known about us, and it was suggested that 
we should try Cremona on the following day. Vicenza 
appeared to be full of French and British troops, but we 
were amused to find that the medical authorities did not 
apparently take any interest in our movements. On the 
following day, August 9th, we arrived at Brescia, and as 
usual did the town thoroughly, with the aid of a Baedeker. 
There were no British troops at Brescia, and it seemed that, 
if we had cared to, we might have stayed there for the 
rest of the war. On the following day, remembering that 



254 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

something had been said about Cremona, we took train 
to that city. After installing ourselves in a comfortable 
hotel, where the food was excellent, we reported at the 
British Headquarters on the following morning. It was 
a surprise when we discovered that something was known 
about us. Finally it was suggested that we should travel 
to Milan and then try the British Base at Aquarta Scrivia. 
This was rather a blow to one of us, who had hoped that 
he might spend the rest of the war travelling round the 
mediaeval cities of Italy without being worried by anyone ; 
indeed, we had been talking of visiting Florence and Naples, 
but I thought that the latter might be considered a little 
too far out of the way. Milan was reached on the following 
day ; here no one seemed to take any interest in us, and 
we spent quite a pleasant twenty-four hours. The following 
morning we entrained again, almost forgetting that we 
had anything to do with the war in Italy, and travelling 
through Pa via, eventually reached Aquarta in the afternoon. 
On reporting as usual, we were not received with much 
encouragement, and we hoped that we might be allowed 
to drift off at a tangent again. However, we eventually 
received instructions to report to two hospitals in Genoa ; 
unfortunately, the names of the hospitals were given, 
so we were compelled to report there on the following 
day. We had left England on August 3rd and were 
actually at our destination ten days later. The interesting 
part about this little Cook's tour in the north of Italy 
was that, owing to our having followed instructions 
implicitly, our hotel bills, or rather the allowances in 
lieu of them, were paid forthwith by the Field Cashier. 
After two weeks in a Base Hospital at Genoa, the author 
of this diary was transferred as Acting S.M.O. of Faenza 
and district ; this was one of the large rest camps on the 
Mediterranean lines of communication, situate between 
Bologna and Rimini. We had two hospitals, British and 
Indian, and a considerable district to be responsible for. 
Our patients for the hospital were chiefly taken off the 
leave and reinforcement trains which were passing through 
daily. The influenza epidemic was commencing, and the 



ITALY 255 

Salonika leave train always supplied a large number of 
malaria cases which were unfit to travel any further. 
The rest camp was situated in a shady park just outside 
the old walls of the mediaeval city, and was about as 
perfect as any rest camp could be ; every detail was 
attended to in order to make officers and other ranks com- 
fortable. The trains which supplied our hospitals with 
patients carried all sorts of nationalities, from British 
troops and Serbian refugees to Labour Corps units from 
Malta, Fiji and South Africa. Sometimes these trains con- 
tained units suffering from infectious disease, about which 
we were generally warned from Taranto beforehand, and 
a certain amount of difficulty was naturally experienced 
with the Italian authorities. On one occasion a train 
containing Indians suffering with mumps was held up 
for half a day near the station, being shunted on to a 
siding ; when it had continued its journey the local 
sanitary authorities disinfected the permanent way, but 
later it transpired that the engine which had drawn the 
train had been waiting on another siding, and accordingly 
the rails on which it had stood were also solemnly dis- 
infected ! While at Faenza one's duties took one to 
various places, up to 40 miles away, where there were 
small detachments of British troops, and while on these 
motor excursions one noticed how very thoroughly 
American propaganda was being carried out, even in 
the smaller villages. On one occasion an official cine- 
matograph performance was given in the market square 
of the town, showing the work of the British Army in 
France. The Italians, however, who were so used to the 
American propaganda, thought that the pictures repre- 
sented American troops, and cheered for the Americans 
accordingly. 



Early in October I received orders to report to the 
Seventh Division, and accordingly joined a Field Ambu- 
lance which was in billets near Vicenza. On the following 
day we commenced a march up to the front, and after 



256 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

a busy time with the influenza epidemic, which was then 
raging, reached Vascon, a village between Treviso and 
the Piave, on October 20th. At this time the Seventh 
and Twenty-third Divisions had concentrated near Treviso, 
and were about to take over a portion of the Piave line 
from the Italians before commencing the offensive which 
culminated in the defeat of Austria. Our main dressing 
station was established in a building vacated by an 
Italian Sezzione Sanita (a Divisional Medical Field Unit), 
our advanced dressing stations being amongst the ruins 
of the church at Maserada, about 2 miles from the 
front line, and at Lovadina, a little higher up the river. 
At dusk the roads were full of the Italian troops who were 
being relieved by the British. There was very little shelling 
going on at night, but we were told by the Italians that 
we should be heavily shelled during the day. On the 
following day we found that the cross-roads at Maserada 
were very unhealthy, and looked about for a more suit- 
able advanced dressing station. The CO., however, was 
unable to find anything better than the ruined church, 
as most of the houses were merely piles of bricks and all 
the Italian dugouts were full of water. At this time we 
were ordered to wear Italian tin helmets and Italian 
great-coats when near the line, in order that the Austrian 
aeroplanes might not realize that British troops had taken 
over this sector from the Italians. This precaution 
seemed rather a farce, as a few miles back whole battalions 
of infantry were to be seen marching along the road in 
ordinary British uniforms. On October 22nd I joined 
another M.O. in an advanced dressing station at Casa 
Forte, some 200 yards behind the Piave bank, in some 
excellent dugouts which were partially occupied by the 
R.W.F.^ We had a very quiet time, and one realized 
that it was a gentlemanly war on this front ; occasionally 
the Austrian guns would throw a shell over the Piave, 
and now and then the Italian guns in our rear would 
retaliate. 

1 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 



>: .^.v 



ITALY 257 

October 2Zrd. 

Our CO. came over at midday and told us that our 
Brigade would cross to the Papadopoli Island that night, 
and that I was to accompany them with the bearer 
party. This island was some 3j miles long and varied 
in breadth from a half to 2 miles. It was separated 
from the Italian bank of the Piave by a very swiftly 
flowing stream, dotted here and there with shoals whose 
position differed from day to day, according to the depth 
of the water ; the island was occupied by the enemy's 
infantry, and was connected with the " Austrian " main- 
land by means of wooden bridges, which connected some 
smaller islands with Papadopoli ; it was therefore a sort 
of outpost in front of the Austrian line, which extended 
along the left bank of the river. It was estimated that it 
would take us two days to capture and clear the island, 
and that then a pontoon bridge could be built which 
would enable two Divisions to join us and eventually cross 
and attack the Austrian main position. Our Brigade, 
therefore, was to have the post of honour, and, by estab- 
lishing a bridge-head, was to open up a road for the 
offensive. The whole undertaking was to be as secret 
as possible, in order that the enemy might not know that 
a big offensive was maturing (but rather that he should 
think it was a large raid), and above all that he should 
not know that British troops were present until the last 
moment ; for this reason we had for the last few days 
been wearing Italian helmets and coats in the trenches 
on account of aeroplane observation. At 9 p.m. three of 
us M.O.'s, together with the bearers (all lightly equipped, 
as we had been warned that we might have to swim) 
marched down through Lovadina to Zeoti ; here we left 
one officer with a detachment, and then made our way 
down to the front-line trenches at Palazzina. Leaving 
the N.C.O.'s and men, we crept down to the river and 
crossed a plank bridge to a small islet ; here embarkation 
was proceeding, and our orders were to embark in the 
following order: 2nd H.A.C., 1st R.W.F., 8th Yorks 



258 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

(one company), M.G.C., T.M.B., and lastly the bearer 
party of our Field Ambulance ; troops were being em- 
barked in gondolas, each of which contained seven 
men and two Italian Pioneers ; the latter had been 
specially selected for these duties, as they were largely 
local men who understood all about the currents and 
shoals met with in the Piave. Two platoons of the leading 
regiment had just got over, when the enemy, by means 
of star-shells and searchlights, discovered what was going 
on. He immediately began to shell the embarkation 
point, the boats in mid-stream, and the place where the 
landing was being effected. Boats no longer returned 
empty, but contained wounded ; the latter reported that 
they had been met with rifle fire on landing. Meanwhile, 
casualties from H.E. and shrapnel were taking place 
amongst the troops who were waiting to embark. We 
read some weeks later in the newspapers that the landing 
was a complete surprise, and the two regiments were 
dug in before the enemy discovered them. If the corre- 
spondent who wrote this had taken part in the crossing 
on that night, his account would probably have been a 
different one. Whenever the shelHng was bad, embarka- 
tion was postponed for a few minutes while we lay in some 
old trenches on the beach. The Italian Piave boatmen 
(Pioneers) were simply splendid, making repeated journeys 
under heavy fire. 

October 24>th. 

At 1 a.m. our turn came to embark. It was not a 
pleasant prospect ; the shelling continued heavily, and 
our guns were not allowed to reply, as our presence was 
not supposed to be known. We went back to the Zeoti 
trenches to fetch our men, and found that our senior 
sergeant had been mortally wounded ; we now returned 
to the islet beach and commenced to embark. I went 
in our second boat, which contained also six men, a few 
stretchers and our two "gondoliers." As our boat 
pushed off into the swiftly running Piave, much swollen 
by recent rain, the scene resembled a pyrotechnic display, 



ITALY 259 

with the flashes of the explosions and the white and green 
lights which lit up the water. It seemed that our boat 
could never get over whole, as great fountains of water 
seemed to burst up all around us ; but most of the boats 
crossed safely, including our own, which was eventually 
floated and steered down to a shoal of shingle. Here 
we got out and re-embarked into a second boat on the other 
side. We were now ferried over another branch of the 
river into the shallows, through which we had to wade 
ashore in icy water, nearly up to our waists, for about 
100 yards. We had come very lightly equipped, 
carrying stretchers and surgical haversacks only, packs, 
overcoats, etc., having been left behind, as we had been 
warned that our boat would very likely be sunk or upset. 
In this way the whole Brigade crossed to the island of 
Papadopoli (northern portion), with luckily not many 
casualties in transit. The crossing reminded one of the 
upper reaches of the Danube. On emerging in the pitch 
dark on to a sandy beach, we were met by rifle fire. We 
could find no one. After proceeding cautiously in a north- 
easterly direction, we got into touch with the regiment 
(2nd H.A.C.) in front, which was engaged with four 
companies of the enemy in a belt of scrub, and a little 
later got into communication with the 1st R.W.F. on 
our left. Whenever a star-shell went up, we all fell prone 
on the sand, as there was absolutely no cover. As some 
snipers, about 200 yards away, seemed interested in our 
movements, we dug in in a sandy bank (each man a hole 
for himself) and dropped the stretchers under the lee of 
it. Eight men were then dispatched to collect wounded 
from the regimental aid posts. By dawn we had got most 
of the wounded, both British and Austrian, into our 
dressing station, but as soon as it was light, shelling, 
whizz-bang, rifle-grenade and machine-gun fire became 
very severe. The plaintive cries of the Austrian wounded, 
" Italiener, Italiener ! " showed that anyhow the rank 
and file of the enemy did not realize that they were fighting 
against British troops. At 7 a.m. some enemy aeroplanes 
began to fly over the island, but none of ours were allowed 



1 



260 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

to appear, as those in authority did not wish this to be 
thought an important movement, and for the same reason 
our guns from the mainland were still dumb. To us it 
seemed a very one-sided show. At 7.15 a Fritz hovered 
over our dressing station and began to fly in circles, 
evidently signalling to his guns on the Austrian mainland. 
We knew that the worst had happened. He thought 
that we were a trench mortar battery or machine-gun 
emplacement, as our little rows of dugouts and parallel 
rows of stretchers under the bank might resemble something 
of this sort when seen from a certain altitude. The result 
was, we were subjected to an incessant bombardment by 
a great variety of " missiles " until 11 a.m. Luckily, 
we never got a direct hit by H.E., or not one of us would 
have escaped. Some of our wounded were killed and some 
died of wounds during the morning. There was no question 
of evacuation, as the boats had ceased to run before dawn. 
We deepened our holes and those containing the stretchers, 
without exposing ourselves, by digging with our hands 
in the shingle until the water level was reached. There 
we cowered for some hours, watching the rank grass being 
mown down a few inches above our heads. It was one 
of those uncomfortable occasions when tobacco was the 
greatest solace. Towards midday the shelling got less 
and we were able to collect some more wounded ; then it 
recommenced again, and the other M.O. and I debated 
about making a run for it. At 2 p.m. the two of us 
seized a stretcher with a man on it, and ran out towards 
the guns, in order to show their observation officer what 
we really were. However, he must have misinterpreted 
our action, as we were driven back again, my walking- 
stick being cut in two by a bullet. In the afternoon things 
quietened down a little, and we were able to move our 
dressing station forward, conforming with the movements 
of the Brigade, under a scrub-top bank. The supply of 
stretchers gave out, and we were reduced to using Austrian 
blankets. At night we were able to evacuate some of 
our wounded by boat, but unfortunately under fire, as the 
enemy turned a searchlight on the beach, as they feared 



.•„«•• »^ 



ITALY 261 

that we were receiving reinforcements. The transference 
of the stretcher cases across the middle shoal, from one 
boat to another, was very difficult. It was said that 
one boat had been hit by a shell, and that, the boatmen 
being killed, the wreck was washed down the river ; we 
heard the cries of the wounded far below us later on, but 
were unable to locate them in the dark, and we never heard 
whether they were saved ; possibly they drifted on to a 
sandbank on the Italian side and were rescued, as we could 
see no sign of them at dawn. After dispatching some 
wounded, two of us were standing about 200 yards from 
the shore, while 100 prisoners were standing in the water 
waiting for the boats which would fetch them ; suddenly 
the enemy's searchlight showed up the Austrians, and 
they were mown down pitilessly by their own machine 
guns, under the impression that they were more British 
reinforcements. We lay flat on our faces while the bullets 
whistled a few feet above us. After this episode no 
rations could be got over, and, as ammunition was running 
low and the Piave was rising, our connection with the shore 
seemed somewhat precarious. The island had now been 
cleared to a depth of 2 kilometres. 

October 25th. 

Just before dawn our dressing station was moved for- 
ward, still on the beach, under cover of a friendly bank, in 
order to conform with our Brigade, which was advancing. 
The second regiment (1st R.W.F.) now took the lead. Shell- 
ing continued all day, and we were very short of stretchers, 
as none could be returned from the mainland. At 10 a.m. 
we saw an Italian observation balloon (the observer 
escaping in a parachute) shot down across the Piave on 
the Italian side, also an Austrian aeroplane in the same 
place. The British guns from the mainland opened at 
about midday for the first time. We heard that our big 
attack had been postponed, owing to the state of the river, 
and that we were to remain on the island and be shelled 
for the present. During the afternoon the enemy shelled 
and sank some of our boats which had been anchored 



262 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

as a decoy a little lower down the river. It was very 
pretty shooting, which we enjoyed watching, as the targets 
were some 300 yards away from us, and we knew that 
the Austrian artillery were known to be very accurate. 
Many prisoners came in, mostly Magyars and Czechs. 
By midday most of the island was in our hands, both 
the northern or Ledo portion and also Papadopoli proper. 
A little later strong reinforcements were brought up by 
the enemy, and a sharp counter-attack by troops from the 
Austrian mainland took place, the latter getting in some 
places within 10 yards of our line and being eventually 
driven back with the bayonet. The evacuation of the 
wounded was again a difficult problem at night, as our 
beach was still overlooked, on account of the flatness of 
the island, by the enemy on the Austrian mainland. 
After dusk we were joined by the Royal Warwickshire 
Regiment, the rest of the 8th Yorks, and some bearer 
reinforcements. 

October 26th, 

We were dressing wounded from 6 a.m. till 11 a.m., 
mostly the result of the enemy's counter-attack on the 
previous night and at dawn. A blessed white river fog, 
which lasted almost till midday, undoubtedly saved many 
lives, as the boats were able to take off wounded without 
being seen. One hundred and sixty prisoners were dumped 
on us, and as there appeared to be no one else to take 
charge of them, I made them make a cage out of their 
own barbed-wire entanglements, into which they put 
themselves. Their officers told me that they had no idea 
that there were British troops on the Piave sector until 
they made their acquaintance somewhat forcibly on the 
island. During the morning I found a very unkempt 
little Italian officer near our advanced dressing station, 
who seemed very perturbed. He said that he had impor- 
tant news, and that no one could understand him or would 
take any notice of him. We conversed in French ; he 
had just arrived from the mainland, and said he was 
liaison officer of the Italian Thirty-seventh Division, which 



ITALY 263 

had just effected a landing on the island some 3 kilo- 
metres lower down, and that this Division wished to join 
hands with our Brigade. He said that he had come at 
great personal risk, and must see our Brigadier at once. 
Accordingly, I sent him up to the leading regiment at once, 
and only just in time, as half an hour later I had a wounded 
man through from the 2nd H.A.C., who said that they 
had suddenly run into a regiment, which they were just 
about to fire on, when they received a message that 
part of the Thirty-seventh Italian Division had joined 
them ! We discovered that a large supply of emergency 
rations had been dumped indiscriminately on the beach 
on the previous night, but, owing to their being inadequately 
guarded, they were quickly looted by those nearest, conse- 
quently many never got their fair share. At midday we 
had to organize several relief bearer posts, as our Brigade 
was advancing again, and the " carries " to our dressing 
station were getting longer. Shelling and rifle-grenade 
fire continued incessantly, and one was continually under 
observation, except when in the hastily made Austrian 
trenches. Just before sunset three Austrian aeroplanes 
flew down the Piave, only about thirty feet above the 
water, looking to see if we had built a bridge ; they found 
none, but it (the pontoon bridge) was built during the 
night. At 11 p.m. our intense artillery preparation 
(preliminary to the advance) commenced, and continued 
for six hours. Every British and Italian gun on the main- 
land took part, and bombarded the enemy's position on 
the Austrian bank of the Piave ; as these shells passed 
directly over our heads and exploded only a short distance 
beyond us, the din was terrific. 

October 27th, 

Our bombardment ceased abruptly at 6 a.m., and then 
recommenced at 7 a.m. as a creeping barrage, advancing 
over the Austrian side. Meanwhile, during the previous 
night and early morning the whole of our Seventh (less 
the Twenty-second Brigade, which had been on the island 
since October 23rd) and Twenty-third Divisions crossed 



264 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

by the pontoon bridge, which had been made in the night 
from the Itahan mainland at Salettuol to the island, 
followed by the Italians ; thence our Divisions, fording an 
arm of the river, stormed the enemy's position on the 
Austrian mainland. The enemy shelled the whole island 
vigorously in order to prevent more reinforcements from 
collecting, especially our side of it, and the bridge, which 
was washed away more than once. Enormous craters 
suddenly appeared in our vicinity — trees, rocks and balks 
of timber were hurled into the air, and the latter seemed 
to be full of small stones which had been thrown up from 
the shingly beach. The Austrians were using 30 and 40 
centimetre guns, which were bigger than anything I 
personally had experienced before. We were bruised by 
the showers of stones which were thrown up from the shingly 
beach, one of our bearers was blown to bits, and an officer 
standing by the dressing station was killed. We were 
now joined by other Field Ambulances which had arrived 
on the island. An Alpine battery established itself just 
in front of our position, and consequently made things so 
uncomfortable for us that we had to move again. Soon 
after midday the gun fire slackened, the gap (entirely 
dependent on our Twenty-second Brigade bridge-head) 
had been made, and the Tenth Italian Army streamed 
through. Many of our regiments were now across, heavily 
engaged on the mainland, after sustaining considerable 
losses by drowning before reaching the latter ; accordingly, 
we established alternative lines of evacuation from the 
mainland across the island to the bridge (when it was not 
broken), and to our boats at the northern end of Papadopoli. 
We heard afterwards, from some Hungarian prisoners 
captured on the Austrian side of the river, that they had 
suffered heavily from our barrage, and that they had held 
out until they saw the British troops emerging from the 
river without any trousers on (the 2nd Gordon High- 
landers), when they thought that, being confronted by 
such mad troops, it was time to give in. The fighting now 
gradually moved northwards, and we were left in com- 
parative quiet, looking after the wounded on the island. 



ITALY 265 

Our Brigade also was given a short respite before being 
thrown into the line again with the rest of the Seventh 
Division. A bright moonlight night followed, and five 
Austrian aeroplanes flew over and bombed our Brigade 
slightly, and also an Italian Division very severely, who 
were waiting at Salettuol for the pontoon bridge, which 
had been broken that evening, to be mended. About 
a hundred were killed and as many wounded were treated 
by sections of our Field Ambulance on the Italian side. 

October 2Sth. 

During the morning a few occasional shells continued 
to fall on the island and then gradually ceased. For 
the next six days we remained on Papadopoli, evacuating 
the wounded from the Austrian mainland at Vendrame 
and Casa Nuova, where they were collected by the other 
two Field Ambulances, who had advanced with the rest of 
the Division, across the island to the Italian side, utilizing 
a large number of bearers, some of whom were lent by 
other Brigades. It was heavy work, especially as the 
Austrian bridges on the farther side were not rebuilt for 
some days by our R.E., and consequently the bearers 
had to wade through a swiftly running arm of the Piave, 
in some places almost four feet deep. Several Brigades of 
Italian cavalry passed through, looking very resplendent, 
the officers particularly being wonderfully turned out. 
I was living in an old Austrian battery position, in a 
sunken road, and one morning my groom announced that 
my horse had been joined by two others. I discovered 
that they were two very fine black Italian chargers, and, 
remembering the axiom well known to us in Palestine 
that " Finding is keeping," appropriated them forthwith ; 
however, to my grief, they were later on claimed by an 
Italian squadron-sergeant-major, and as they were so 
obviously Italian horses, they had to be handed over. 
Owing to the large number of wounded which were coming 
down from the front, which was now several miles in 
advance of us, all of which seemed to come via the island, 
I managed to borrow some fifty Austrian prisoners from 



266 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

one of our cages ; the former always had to be returned 
at night, but sometimes we were unable to return the 
correct number, as they drifted away, owing to the scarcity 
of guards ; when this happened, however, it was always 
possible to make up the deficiency by catching a few more, 
as our island seemed to be swarming with them. On one 
occasion, late at night, I suddenly received some fifty 
British and Austrian wounded from the mainland, and 
found it almost impossible to have them carried the 3 miles 
across the island, as my bearers, who had themselves been 
hard at work all day, were almost collapsed. At that 
moment two or three Carabinieri sergeants appeared in 
charge of about a hundred prisoners. I informed them 
that I required the prisoners to act as bearers, and added 
that amongst my wounded were several Italians. The 
Carabinieri refused, and said that, as these prisoners had 
been captured by the Italians, they must be handed over 
to an Italian cage, and that if they were loaned to me they 
would probably eventually find their way into a British 
cage, and could not be then included in the total number 
captured by the Italians. This seemed rather an absurd 
excuse, as at that time whole regiments of Austrians were 
beginning to come over to us, and one could not see that 
it made very much difference whether the prisoners were 
accredited to England or Italy, as they had been captured 
by an Anglo-Italian army. However, my knowledge of 
German stood me in good stead ; and telling the senior 
N.C.O.'s to fall out, I told them to give orders that the 
fifty stretchers should be picked up, and that the whole 
crowd should follow me across the island in the dark and 
over the bridge to Salettuol. The Carabinieri did not 
understand what was happening until we had started, 
and eventually, much to their chagrin, after seeing my 
wounded dumped at our Field Ambulance, I handed the 
prisoners over for further fatigues, which led to their being 
taken for the night to a British cage. 

It was interesting at this time, after crossing to Vendrame 
on to what had been the Austrian mainland, to stand on 
the river embankment and see how the Austrians observed 



ITALY 267 

almost all our movements during those first three somewhat 
lurid days on the island. On October 31st we received the 
following official resume of G.H.Q. Intelligence : 

On the night of October 23rd-24th the Tenth Italian Army 
(including the Fourteenth British Corps, Seventh Division, and 
Twenty-third Division), commanded by General Lord Cavan, 
undertook operations against the island of Grave di Papadopoli 
on the Piave. The Seventh British Division, crossing the river 
in small boats under circumstances of considerable difficulty, 
surprised the garrison, which consisted of troops of the Seventh 
Austrian Division, and occupied the northern half of the island. 
In this operation some 360 prisoners were captured. The remainder 
of the island was cleared of the enemy on the night of October 
25th-26th by a combined movement of British troops in the north 
and troops of the Thirty-seventh Italian Division, who crossed the 
Piave and attacked the southern portion of the island. Two hundred 
and fifty more prisoners were taken. At 8 a.m. on the 26th the 
Austrians made a violent counter-attack on the British troops hold- 
ing the northern portion of the island. The enemy advanced with 
determination, and reached within 10 yards of our foremost line — 
everywhere they were repulsed with heavy losses and more prisoners 
were taken. On the 27th, at 6.45 a.m., an attack of the Tenth 
Army across the Piave, in the area of the island of Grave di Papa- 
dopoli, commenced. The Itahan troops on the right met with strong 
resistance, which was overcome. The British reached their first 
objective, Tezzi, after midday, the Italians reaching Cimadolmo. 
On the 28th the British Corps had reached the line C. Bonotto- 
C. Damian. On the 29th, at 11.15 a.m., the British infantry and 
cavalry forced a passage of the River Monticano north-east of 
Vazzola. On the 30th the British had reached the River Livenza 
at Lancenigo. His Excellency General Diaz telegraphs : "I beg 
to convey to the Fourteenth British Army Corps the expression 
of my high satisfaction with the valour and dash shown in the 
great battle, which unites in brotherhood in the decisive triumph 
the fighting units of England and Italy." 

During this time American troops crossed the island, 
marching as fast as possible in order to reach the front line 
before the Armistice, of which there were already vague 
rumours, should mature. It seemed very hard luck on 
these troops that they would probably see no fighting, 
after having come all the way from America. We heard 
afterwards, however, that they had arrived on the Taglia- 
mento just before the Armistice was concluded. 



268 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

During the Austrian retreat, piles of bombs and hand 
grenades had been left behind, and many had been partly 
trodden into the ground ; some Italian horses were 
destroyed in this way, and in order to prevent further 
accidents we put our Austrian prisoners, who were acting 
as stretcher-bearers, on to collect all bombs, ammunition 
and weapons which were lying on the tracks used by the 
troops. Eventually I had quite a stock of assorted souvenirs 
in the sunken road behind our dugouts, and was able to 
supply almost any want expressed by officer souvenir- 
hunters, from an Austrian automatic pistol or trench 
dagger to a small trench mortar, one of the latter being 
actually taken away by an officer of high rank. On 
November 1st, while we were still busy man-handling 
the wounded which were coming down from the front 
across the island, we received a secret order that Phase I 
was over, this meaning, in conjunction with the previous 
order, that the line Cornari-Jajarine had been reached, 
and that our Division, which was now many miles ahead 
of us, would have a temporary halt. In the evening 
some Italian troops on the other side of the river became 
very excited and kept up an incessant shower of star- 
shells and Verey lights, having, as usual, received another 
premature peace rumour. Just before midnight our CO. 
dropped in on his way down from Vazzola to Masarada ; 
he brought with him a young R.A.F. officer who had been 
shot down that morning over the Austrian lines, escaping 
to a house where friendly Italians dressed him as a 
civilian ; the Austrian troops did not recognize him, and 
in the afternoon, when the Italians entered the village, he 
was liberated. 

November Uh, 

Soon after dawn the church bells on the right side of 
the Piave, which had not rung for a year, were pealing 
joyfully. The churches on the left bank of the river, 
however, were silent, as the Austrians during their occupa- 
tion had removed all the church bells in order to make 
use of the metal. After breakfast a captain of Arditi 



'■'-W- .-..';'..; •;;..;,. 



ITALY 269 

and an Italian gunner officer rushed into our little camp 
in a great state of excitement — they told us that Trieste, 
Pola and the Trentino had fallen, and that an Armistice 
between Italy and Austria would be signed at 3 p.m. 
They consumed a complete bottle of whisky between 
them, which they drank neat, and toasted the Italian and 
British armies, saying that we should advance " Per 
Austria a Berlino," eventually departing with many 
expressions of perpetual friendship. 

On November 5th our unit assembled at Casa Nuova, 
where we handed over our accumulated stores to a 
Casualty Clearing Station, and then marched through 
the ruins of Cimodolma and Tezzi to the little town of 
Vazzola, which we reached in the afternoon. This place, 
which had been out of reach of the Italian guns during 
the Austrian occupation, had only suffered from aerial 
attacks. We were billeted in a comfortable house owned 
by an Italian married to a Frenchwoman, the latter making 
conversation easier. We ascertained that a Hungarian 
cavalry regiment had recently been quartered locally, 
and that the house in which we were living had been 
the headquarters of an Artillery Brigade. Our host told 
us that the Austrians were not aware that the British 
were on the Piave sector until an artillery officer discovered 
an English nose-cap which had been blown off a shell 
just outside Vazzola. Our good hostess was quite over- 
come with joy at the retreat of the Austrians, and supplied 
us with champagne and red wine, which had been buried 
in the garden during the enemy occupation. All the 
people in the town looked very starved, especially the 
children, whom we were able to supply with Bovril and 
biscuits which we had brought up specially for this purpose. 
In my bedroom I discovered some interesting Austrian 
Army Orders, including a congratulatory letter from the 
Emperor Karl of Austria addressed to his troops. The 
people in the village told us that they feared the Hungarian 
soldiers much more than the Austrian, as the former had 
shown themselves particularly cruel, especially where 
women were concerned. On the following day we marched 



270 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

early to Codogne, crossing the river Monticano, the passage 
of which our troops had forced a week previously. The 
villages were now not so dilapidated, but showed occasional 
traces of bombing. Here and there the road was cut up 
by shell-holes, where the Austrians had made a stand during 
their retreat — dead horses and mules were lying about the 
roads, and the ditches were littered with rifles, helmets 
and ammunition which had been thrown away in the 
general rout. The populace again looked very pinched 
with famine, and some of the women were almost too 
weak to walk, and assailed us with pitiful cries, " Pane, 
pane ! " ; although this territory had now been reoccupied 
for almost a week, it appeared that very little had been 
done on a large scale to relieve the distress. Everywhere 
we came across enormous numbers of guns of varying 
calibre which had been abandoned on the roads. After 
marching through Rovero Basso and Jajarine, we crossed 
the River Livenza at Francenigo ; at this point we began 
to meet parties of starved-looking Italian soldiers in rags, 
liberated prisoners dating from the Caporetto disaster, 
who were returning homewards ; many of these were too 
weak to walk and were lying in the doorways of ruined 
houses, hoping to get a lift out of that famine -stricken 
country and over the Piave. One could not help feeling 
for these poor ex-prisoners, about whom no one seemed to 
worry, and they appeared to be looked upon with some 
contempt by the advancing troops ; their appearance 
showed a marked contrast to the car-loads of distinguished 
Italian civilians who were rushing up to the front bedecked 
with Italian flags and flowers, who had already heard that 
the Armistice had been signed. Sachile was reached at 
dusk, with the snow-capped mountains in the background. 
A large railway bridge had been blown up and was lying 
like a broken child's toy in the beautiful Livenza. There 
had been some street-fighting in this town, which had done 
a certain amount of damage to its buildings. Owing to 
the rapid departure of the enemy subsequently, they had 
been unable to destroy many houses ; but that this had 
been their intention was shown by the fact that the ground 



ITALY 271 

floor of the house in which I was billeted had been filled 
with inflammable material, such as shavings, hay, etc., 
laid ready to be lit at a moment's notice. At first we 
had to be rather careful about our immediate surroundings, 
on account of traps, one man having been killed in this 
way. The market-place of Sachile contained the finest 
collection of abandoned (one could hardly say captured) 
Austrian guns that we had seen up till now. In the evening 
we heard that the Armistice with Austria was really 
authentic, and the town was bedecked with Italian flags. 
A few days later, on November 12th, we heard that an 
Armistice had been signed between the Allies and Germany 
on the previous day, and we realized that the Great War, 
which had caused many of us to leave our homes on 
August 4, 1914, was over at last. 



INDEX 



Abaaan El Kebir, 115, 118, 124, 

126, 126, 128, 140, 141, 146, 

150, 163 
Abassia, 45 
Aboukir Bay, 15 
Abu Bakra, 117, 141 
Abu Gilban, 89 
Abu Hareira (see also Hareira), 119, 

121 
Abu Hiseia, 133 
Abu Irgeig, 170, 174, 181 
Abu Khatli, 115 
Abu Shawish, 155, 156, 159 
Abu Shushar, 201, 227, 247, 248, 

249 
Abu Teibig, 117, 219 
Abu Yaia, 149 
Abushar, 171 
Aden, 221 
Akaba, 97 
Akir, 200, 201 
Aleppo, 169, 181 
Alexandria, 14, 44, 46, 154, 251, 

252 
Ali Muntar, 123, 164, 215, 217, 219 
Ammam, 221, 236, 238, 244 
Amr, 166 
Amwas, 194, 201 
Anafarta, 20, 26, 73 
Annabeh, 201 
Anthedon, 165 
Antivenene, 249 
Aquarta Scrivia, 254 
Arak El Menshiye, 187, 188 
Arimathea, 202 
Arsenyat, 235, 242, 243 
Artuf, 194, 199 
Asiati, 197 
Askelon, 193, 215 
Asluj, 148, 171, 172, 173 



18 



Asseiferia, 132, 134, 136 
Atewinieh, 132, 134, 136 
Avonmouth, 14 

Baghl, 183 

Baiket El Sana, 134, 140 

Baki Baba, 20 

Bald Hill, 223 

Balin (Battle of), 188 

Ballah, 46 

Barga, 89 

Barghut, 175 

Barriye, 201 

Beersheba (Birsaba), 67, 96, 107, 

109, 112, 114, 115, 116, 120, 

122, 130, 136, 146, 149, 151. 

155, 162, 166, 167, 169, 171, 

172 
Beit Duras, 192, 203 
Beit Durdis, 120, 122 
Beit Isa, 198 
Beit Nakaba, 228 
Beit Sira, 201, 202, 203 
Beni Sakhr, Tribe, 244 
Beni Sela, 117, 118, 142, 144, 163 
Berfilya, 201 
Berkusie, 188, 192 
Bethany, 229 

Bethlehem, 188, 194, 209, 213, 251 
Bilharzia hoematobia, 47, 144, 246 
Bir Abu Dyuk, 67, 86 
Bir Abu Hamra, 74, 75, 76 
Bir Abu Rami, 67, 74 
Bir Arara, 175 
Bire, 195, 199, 222 
Bir El Abd, 51, 56, 57, 78, 80, 82, 

87 
Bir El Amafidi, 115 
Bir El Hamisah, 63, 74 
Bir Er Romani, 76, 77, 86 

273 



274 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 



Bir Esani, 145, 149, 152, 153, 168, 

162, 171 
Bir Et Maler, 67 
Bir Imleih, 132, 148, 149, 158 
Bir Lahfan, 87, 91 
Bir Masmi, 93 
Bir Moseifig, 89 
Bir Nagid, 63 
Bir Nikata, 74 
Bir Salaam, 220 
Bittia, 90, 91, 95 
Bologna, 252, 254 
Brescia, 253 
Burbera, 215 
Burj (Palestine), 201 
Burka, 188, 193, 194, 203 
Burnt Hill, 25 
Bury St. Edmunds, 13 

Cairo, 44, 80, 154 

Calvary, 229 

Canterbury Post, 65, 71, 72 

Casa Forte, 256 

Casa Nuova, 265, 269 

Castro, 44 

Caucasus, 222 

Chatby, 15 

Cherith, Brook, 231, 232 

Chocolate Hill, 20, 25, 32, 33, 35 

Cholera, 78, 108 

Cimadolmo, 267, 269 

Codogne, 270 

Condia, 43 

Corinth, Canal, 252 

Comari, 268 

Cromer, 14 

Damascus, 221, 228 

Danube, 259 

Darba, 97 

Dead Sea, 229, 230 

Deiran, 205, 206, 209, 211, 220, 

221, 222 
Deir El Belah, 119, 123, 127, 129, 

130, 131, 136, 142, 146, 163, 

200, 214 
Deir Eyub, 196 
Deir Namen, 194 
Deir Sineid, 203, 204, 215 
Devonport, 40 
Dhaheriyeh, 131, 179 
Djemal Pasha, 84 
Dueidar, 52, 60, 63, 64, 66, 86 



El Abreish, 115 

El Arish, 51, 56, 87, 90, 91, 94, 96, 

99, 105, 107, 108, 109, 145, 

148, 165, 166 
El Auja, 109, 148, 149, 162, 172 
El Breij, 126 
El Buggar, 149, 150, 151, 152, 158, 

159, 161, 165, 167, 170, 173, 

175 
El Burj, 108, 109, 113, 114, 165 
El Daheisha, 94 
El Dammath, 155 
El Demeita, 119, 124 
El Ferdan, 45, 47 
El Fukhari, 148 
El Gamli, 142, 144, 145, 149, 152, 

162, 165, 166, 167 
El Geheir, 158, 169 
El Ghoraniye, 232, 233, 244 
El Gib, 199, 200 
El Hathira, 148, 149 
El Hand, 237 
El Imaan, 125 
El Kubab, 201, 202, 227 
El Mabwala, 95 
El Magam, 133, 140, 141 
El Magruntein, 96, 97, 100 
El Mejdel, 203, 215 
El Mendur, 120, 132, 134, 139, 219 
El Mesmiye, 188, 194 
El Mughar, 200, 201, 207 
El Munkheileh, 132, 135, 138, 138, 

219 
El Rasimi, 100 
El Risa, 95 

El Tine, 188, 189, 190, 192, 194 
El Tireh, 224 

Esdud, 193, 208, 212, 213, 215 
Eshua, 194 
Es Salt, 221, 233, 234, 235, 236, 

237, 238, 240, 241, 244, 245 
Es Suafir Esh Sherkiye, 192 

Faenza, 252, 254, 255 
Faluja, 187, 188 
Florence, 254 
Francenigo, 270 

Gath, 200 

Gaza, 115, 116, 118, 119, 128, 129, 
130, 131, 134, 139. 142, 146, 
147, 164, 192, 202, 215, 216, 217 



INDEX 



2T5 



Gaza (1st Battle of), 119 to 125 

Gaza (2nd Battle of), 135 to 139 

Geb El Lagama, 89 

Genoa, 252, 254 

Gethsemane, 229 

Gezer, 201, 227, 247, 248 

Ghabi, 151, 153 

Ghalyun, 167, 171 

Ghazi Baba, 19 

Gilbaan, 63 

Goz El Basal, 155, 156, 157, 160, 

167, 168 
Goz El Geleib, 155, 156, 157, 163 
Goz El Taire, 116, 117, 118, 124, 

125, 126, 128 
Goz Lakheilat, 149, 158 
Goz Mabruk, 145, 152, 155 
Goz Sheihili, 149 

Hamam, 174 

Harreira, 131, 132, 146, 151, 162, 

166, 179, 181 
Hassanya, 82, 84 
Hatte, 192 
Havre, 252, 253 
Hebron, 131, 176, 179, 180 
Hedjaz Railway, 221, 228, 233, 244 
Hellas, 17 

Hill 40 (Sinai), 50, 66 
Hill 60 (Suvla), 31 
Hill 70 (Suvla), 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 

32 
Hill 70 (Sinai), 52, 58, 66, 86, 86 
Hill 112 (Suvla), 25, 31 
Hod Abu Adi, 70 
Hod Abu Dhahao, 84 
Hod Abu Gharab, 64 
Hod Abu Hattat, 85 
Hod Amara, 88 
Hod Bayud, 80, 81, 148 
Hod Ce Eilia, 82 
Hod Ed Dhaka, 62 
Hod El Amoia, 61 
Hod El Balein, 84 
Hod El Bikriya, 64 
Hod El Dhaheihal, 84 
Hod El Dhaheisha, 94 
Hod El Enna, 65, 67, 69, 74 
Hod El Gamel, 80, 82 
Hod El Khirba, 62, 85, 87 
Hod El Krush, 62 
Hod El Mahari, 62 



Hod El Muhammam, 84 

Hod El Wilegha, 82, 83 

Hod En Negiliat, 64 

Hod Er Rabah, 86 

Hod Er Reshafat, 60, 86 

Hod Es Sagia, 61 

Hod Es Seifaniya, 69 

Hod Hisha, 88 

Hod Negeiret Ali, 70 

Hod Saht, 85 

Hod Shohat, 64, 65, 67, 74 

Hod Zaganiya, 88 

Howeij, 237, 238, 239, 240, 242 

Huj, 119, 122 

Huj (Charge at), 182 to 186 

Ibn Said, 171 

Ifleis (see also Wadi), 155, 169, 

170 
Ijseir, 191, 192 
Imbros, 17, 23 
Imsiri, 149 
Influenza, 256 
Inoculation, 15, 108 
In Seirat, 117, 120, 124 
Israailia, 63, 218 
Iswaiwin, 173 
Itwail Semin, 167, 173 

Jaffa, 128, 202, 205, 221, 222, 223, 

226 
Jajarine, 268, 270 
Jemmamah, 183 

Jericho, 225, 231, 232, 238, 246 
Jerusalem, 101, 108, 115, 128, 

161, 190, 192, 194, 195, 197, 

198, 199, 202, 204, 226, 227, 

228, 229, 251 
Jezaiye, 166 
Jiljulieh, 223, 224 
Jordan, 221, 231, 232, 237, 243 
Jordan Valley, 222, 223, 234, 241 
Juaithim, 182 
Julis, 192 
Junction Station, 196, 200, 207 

Kalkilieh, 223, 224 

Kantara, 45, 49, 66, 79, 80 

Karakol Dagh, 19, 23 

Karm, 149, 150, 151, 154, 157, 158, 

161, 169, 170, 173 
Kasa Dere, 38 



276 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 



Katia, 46, 51, 63, 65, 66 
Katia (2nd Battle of), 73 
Katib Abu Asab, 52 
Katib Gannit, 66, 74, 76 
Katrah, 213 
Kefr Kasim, 223 
Kezaze, 194, 195 
Khabeira, 153, 158, 159 
Khalassa, 149, 155, 160, 162, 166, 

171, 172 
Khan Yunus, 96, 97, 99, 113, 116, 

117, 126, 141, 142, 144, 145, 

146, 156, 162, 164 
Khasif, 149, 150, 151, 155, 161, 

167 
Khirbit Barata, 181, 182 
Khirbit El Reseim, 121, 122 
Khirbit Erk, 132, 139, 140 
Khirbit Sihan, 120, 123, 134 
Khirbit Um Rijl, 133, 134 
Khirbit Zuheilika, 121 
Khubeibeh, 210 
Khulde, 195, 200 
Kossaima, 93, 109, 115 
Kulonieh, 197, 228 
Kuryet Enab, 197, 228, 246 
Kustil, 197 

Lala Baba, 20, 26, 26 

Lancenigo, 267 

Latron, 194, 195, 198, 200, 227, 

228, 246 
Ledo, 262 
Lemnos, 17 
Lifta, 228 

Livenza, River, 267, 270 
Lovadina, 256, 257 
Ludd, 197, 202, 203, 204, 226, 251 
Lyons, 252 

Maadan, 90 

Maalaga, 152, 158, 171 

Madeba, 244 

Magdaba, 93, 95 

Mageibra, 59, 63, 82 

Maghara Hills, 81, 85, 87, 89, 93, 

109, 148, 173 
Mahamdiya, 54, 66, 67 
Makruneh, 174 
Malha, 92 
Malta, 14, 41, 45 
Maserada, 256, 268 



Massaid, 89, 91, 93, 94 

Mazaar, 87, 89 

Mejdel Yaba, 223, 225 

Mena, 45 

Meredith, Mount, 66 

Mikreh, 176, 177, 178, 180 

Milan, 253, 254 

Moascar, 218 

Montecano, River, 267, 270 

Mudros, 17, 41 

Mulebbis, 223 

Munteret El Kaneitera, 187 

Mustapha, 46 

Muweileh, 174 

Naane, 201 
Nablus, 198, 208 
Naga El Asseisi, 160 
Nalim, 213 
Naples, 254 
Narbit, 82 
Nebi Samwil, 198 
Nebi Yesir, 94, 96 
Neby Kunda, 211 
Neby Tari, 224 
Neby Yunis, 193 
Nekhl Abu Sagal, 95 
Newbury, 13 
Niebruniessi, 20, 24 

Oghratina, 46, 54, 57, 69, 62, 78 
Olives, Mount of, 229 

Padua, 253 

Palazzina, 257 

Papadopoli, 257, 263, 264, 265, 267 

Pavia, 254 

Pelusium, 52, 57, 66, 67, 72, 79, 

86 
Piave, River, 256, 257, 258, 261, 

262, 263, 268, 269 
Pola, 269 

Rafa, 95, 98, 101, 104, 107, 108, 
HI, 114, 115, 116, 126, 142, 
143, 150, 165, 219, 226 

Rafa (Battle of), 99 

Ramleh, 108, 109, 192, 193, 194, 
197, 199, 202, 204, 205, 226 

Ras El Ain, 223 

Ras El Nag, 177, 178, 180, 181 

Ras El Nag (Battle of), 176 



INDEX 



277 



Ras Ghaimam, 173 

Rashid Bek, 149, 152, 153, 158, 

159, 166, 173 
RedhiU (Jordan VaUey), 245 
Rehoboth, 206 
Richon, 222 
Rimini, 254 
Rjm Abu Jerwal, 176 
Romani, 52, 54, 66, 76, 164 
Romani (Battle of), 63 
Rovero Basso, 270 
Royston, Moimt, 70, 74 
Ruisat, Mount, 82, 85 
Rushbrooke Park, 13 

Sabkhet El Bardawil, 88 

Sabkhet El Mustabig, 89 

Sachile, 270 

Salettuol, 265, 266 

Salhia, 45 

Salmana, 82, 89, 141 

Salonika, 45, 154, 160, 200 

Salt Lake (Suvla), 21, 24, 32 

Saraothrace, 23 

Saris, 196 

Sarona, 223 

Selme, 226 

Sha'uth, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 

150, 154 
Sheikh Abbas, 119, 132, 133 
Sheikh El Sufi, 100 
Sheikh Nebhan, 116, 123, 219 
Sheikh Zowaid, 96, 97, 98, 99, 103, 

104, 105, 111, 113, 114, 115, 166 
Shellal, 67, 96, 99, 109, 113, 114, 

153, 169 
Sheria, 131, 139, 146, 166, 182 
Sheringham, 14 
Shilta, 213 

Shunet Nimrim, 234, 235, 236, 243 
Small pox, 48, 108 
Southampton, 45, 253 
Suez Canal, 47 
Sufa, 201 
Sultanieh, 97 
Summeil, 187 
Surafend, 202, 204 
Suvla, 18 

Tabsor, 224 

Tagliamento, River, 267 
Tahta, 199, 201 



Talaat El Dumm, 230, 246 

Taranto, 252, 255 

Taweil, 158 

Tel El Fara, 143, 145, 146, 149, 

150, 153, 155, 157, 162 
Tel El Hesi, 187, 215 
Tel El Itweil, 152, 153, 158 
Tel El Jemrai, 117, 118, 120, 128, 

130, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 

138, 139, 140, 143, 165, 219 
Tel El Khuweilfeh, 175, 176, 179, 

180, 181 
Tel El Marakeb, 119, 146, 147, 

163, 165 
Tel El Nejile, 120 
Tel El Nimrim, 233 
Tel El Saba, 173, 176 
Tel El Sheria, 67, 119, 181 
Tel Es Sultan, 231 
Temptation, Mount of, 231 
Termus, 194 
Tezzi, 267, 269 
ThamUa, 115 
Thermopylae, 44 
Tillul, 89 

Tina, Bay of, 52, 57 
Towal Abu Jerwal, 175 
Trentino, 269 
Treviso, 256 
Trieste, 269 
Turin, 253 
Typhoid, 108 

Ujret El Zol, 91 

Um Ajua, 152, 159, 167 

Um Es Short, 233, 235 

Um Jerrar, 130 

Um Khoziga, 95 

Um Ugba, 61 

Vaccination, 48, 108 
Vascon, 256 
Vazzola, 268, 269 
Vendrame, 265, 266 
Vicenza, 253, 255 

Wadi Asluj, 172 

Wadi Auja (Jaffa), 222 

Wadi Auja (Jordan), 231, 232, 243, 

245 
Wadi Baha, 133, 134, 135, 136 
Wadi Birsaba, 167, 173, 174 



278 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 



Wadi El Arish, 92, 94, 95, 98, 106 

Wadi El Sultan, 177, 178, 179 

Wadi Esani, 159 

Wadi Ferhar, 214 

Wadi Ghuzze, 116, 118, 120, 123, 

128, 132, 133, 138, 142, 143, 

149, 154, 216 
Wadi Hanafish, 159 
Wadi Hesi, 187, 215 
Wadi Hora, 175 
Wadi Ifleis, 170 
Wadi Imalaga, 152, 158, 159 
Wadi Iraleih, 140, 156, 157, 158, 

169 
Wadi Katrah, 212 
Wadi Kelt, 231 
Wadi Kofkah, 122 
Wadi Malha, 175 
Wadi Menakh, 194 
Wadi Munkheileh, 134, 135, 137, 

138 
Wadi Nahr Sukarier, 193, 213, 

215 
Wadi Neda. 201 



Wadi Nimrim, 243 

Wadi Selka, 125, 130 

Wadi Shaib, 237, 238, 242 

Wadi Shanag, 152, 153 

Wadi Shellal (Yebna), 211 

Wadi Sheria, 132, 133, 138, 139, 

141, 181 
Wadi Surar, 194 
Wadi Tahranhat, 214 
Wadi Um Sirr, 150, 151 
Wadi Um Sirah, 177, 178 
Warwick, 13 

Weli Sheikh Nuran, 114, 124, 125, 

142, 143, 144, 146, 150, 169 
Wellington Ridge, 74 
Worcester, 13 

Worcester Hill (Sinai), 82 

Yasur, 194, 222 

Yebna, 200, 201, 203, 206, 207, 
209, 210, 211, 212 

Zagadan, Mount, 82, 85 
Zeoti, 267, 258 



UNITS, FORMATIONS AND SHIPS 



Brigades (Mounted). 
1st Australian Light Horse 

2nd Australian Light Horse 
3rd Australian Light Horse 



4th Australian Light Horse 



1st Mounted (M.E.F.) . 
1st South Midland, Mounted 
2nd Mounted (M.E.F.) . 
3rd Mounted (M.E.F.) . 
4th Mounted (M.E.F.) . 
5th Mounted (M.E.F.) . 
5th Mounted (E.E.F.) . 



6th Mounted (E.E.F.) . 



7th Mounted (E.E.F.) . 
22nd Mounted (E.E.F.) 
New Zealand Mounted 



65, 66, 70, 74, 90, 95, 98, 100, 
113, 176, 177 

53, 65, 74, 100, 176, 177 

67, 95, 98, 101, 113, 117, 118, 
126, 134, 135, 149, 150, 167, 
183, 184, 187, 189, 191, 194, 
224, 243 

134, 146, 149, 150, 151, 167, 
175, 187, 189, 191, 194, 224, 
243 

15, 26, 27, 45, 226 

13, 225 

27, 32, 45 

22, 26, 27, 45 

27, 32, 45 

26,27 

56, 63, 73, 97, 98, 99, 100, 
110, 113, 116, 117, 128, 129, 
135, 148, 149, 164, 170, 174, 
194, 213, 219, 222, 224, 226, 
245 

110, 115, 116, 117, 119, 120, 
124, 126, 129, 133, 134, 138, 
149, 150, 152, 153, 159, 163, 
166, 201, 207, 226, 227 

166, 167, 173, 175, 192, 201, 

114, 164, 219 

67, 58, 63, 66, 76, 79, 98, 100, 
103, 113, 173, 179, 181 



101, 



124, 
182, 
204, 

174, 
226, 



106, 
134, 
175, 

228, 

122, 
139, 
164, 

219 

101, 



Scottish Horse . 


• 


. 49, 66, 64, 66 


Brigades (Infantry). 




22nd . 


. 


. 263, 264 


156th 


. , 


. 92, 125 


166th 


• 


. 86 


Corps. 






Desert Column . 


, , 


. 96, 97, 98, 99, 112, 226 


Desert, Mounted . 


. 


. 171, 175, 204, 206, 226 



2T9 



280 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 



Corps 


(continued). 






IXth . 


. 


, 


. 43 


XlVth 


... 


. 


. 267 


XXth 


. 


• 


. 173, 174, 175, 180, 200, 223, 226, 

227, 228, 245 


XXIst 


. 


• 


. 193, 195, 197, 222, 223 


Divisions. 






Australian Mounted . 


. 


. 160, 161, 164, 170, 172, 173, 186, 



Imperial Mounted 
Anzac Mounted . 



2nd Mounted 
7th (British) 
7th (Meerut) 
10th . 
11th . 
23rd . 
29th . 
42nd . 
52nd . 



63rd .... 

64th .... 

60th .... 

74th .... 
75th .... 
Yeomanry, Moimted . 

East Force 

Egyptian Labour Corps 

Imperial Camel Corps 



Bikanir Camel Corps . 
Camel Transport Corps 



192, 226, 241 
110, 114, 115, 116, 119, 120, 134, 

141, 149, 150, 159, 226 
92, 93, 114, 115, 116, 119, 120, 131, 

132, 140, 145, 149, 150, 163, 170, 
171, 172, 173, 175, 188, 215, 221, 
234, 241 

13, 14, 43, 45, 226 

256, 263, 267 

218, 222, 226 

25, 26, 200, 213 

22, 23, 27, 47 

256, 263, 267 

26 

57, 64, 66, 72, 77, 85, 90 

49, 56, 66, 71, 90, 91, 92, 106, 111, 

115, 125, 126, 131, 132, 186, 193, 

199, 218, 222, 226 
27, 57, 66, 111, 115, 116, 119. 121, 

126, 131, 132, 154, 155, 168, 170, 

174, 213, 217 
27, 115, 116, 119, 121, 128, 131, 132, 

133, 204, 217, 222 

154, 171, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 

198, 199, 221, 233, 243 
127, 128, 131, 132, 146, 181, 199, 200 
142, 165, 195, 196, 198, 222, 224, 227 
159, 170, 188, 192, 199 



153, 163 

93, 94, 96, 152, 208, 217 

53, 81, 84, 86, 98, 100, 101, 120, 
123, 129, 131, 149, 164, 173, 174, 
175, 181, 202, 244, 245, 246 

47,53 

111 



Field Ambulances and Casualty Clearing Stations. 
Ist Australian Light Horse F.A. . 67, 74, 77 
2nd Australian Light Horse F.A. . 67 
3rd Australian Light Horse F.A. . 103, 106 
East Lanes F.A. . . .67 



UNITS, FORMATIONS AND SHIPS 



281 



Field Ambulances and Casualty Clearing Stations (continued). 



2nd Lowland F.A. 


50, 67, 78, 103, 106 


1st South Midland Mounted Brigade 


47, 226 


F.A. 




2nd Mounted Brigade F.A. . 


15, 20, 28, 29, 39 


4th Mounted Brigade F.A. . 


15,44 


5th Mounted Brigade F.A. . 


49, 95, 97, 100, 101, 104, 117, 118, 




134, 136, 144, 155, 178, 179, 201 


6th Mounted Brigade F.A. . 


201 


New Zealand Mounted F.A. 


63, 65, 67, 178, 210 


22nd (7th Div.) F.A. . 


255, 258, 265, 266 


32nd F.A 


30, 35, 36 


33rd F.A 


47 


Welsh F.A.S 


22,24 


East Anglian (54th) CCS. . 


20, 22, 146 


26th CCS 


47, 79, 103 


Welsh (53rd) CCS. . 


24, 30, 37, 39 


Horse Artillery. 




Ayrshire R.H.A. 


59, 62, 66, 74, 154 


Berkshire R.H.A. 


122 


Essex R.H.A 


166 


Hon. Artillery Company (B. Bat- 


47, 98, 100, 136, 153, 164, 163, 


tery) 


189, 226 


Inverness R.H.A. 


91, 98, 100, 101 


Leicestershire R.H.A. . 


59, 66, 74, 91, 98, 100, 101 


Somersetshire R.H.A. . 


59, 62, 66, 74, 98, 100, 101 


Warwickshire R.H.A. . 


226 



Mountain Artillery. 

9th Moimtain Artillery Brigade 
R.G.A. (one Battery) 

Hong-Kong and Singapore Moun- 
tain Battery R.G.A. 

Regiments (Infantry). 
British West Indian Regiment 
Cheshire Regiment 
Connaught Rangers 
Gordon Highlanders 

H.A.C 

Highland Light Infantry 

Lancashire Fusiliers 

Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers . 

Royal Irish Fusiliers . 

Royal Scots Fusiliers . 

Royal Warwickshire Regiment 

Royal Welsh Fusiliers 

Sherwood Foresters 

Sikh Pioneers .... 



234 



97, 98, 100, 101 



86, 165 

157 

38 

264 

257, 259, 263 

95 

62 

28 

28 

52 

262 

267, 259, 261 

28 

86, 112, 152, 170, 208 



282 THE DIARY OF A YEOMANRY M.O. 

Regiments (Infantry) {continued). 
South Wales Borderers . .38 

Yorkshire Regiment . . . 257, 262 

Yeomanby Regiments. 
Berkshire Yeomanry . 
Buckinghamshire Yeomanry- 
City of London Yeomanry . 
2nd Coimty of London Yeomanry 

(Westminster Dragoons) 
3rd Coimty of London Yeomanry 
Derbyshire Yeomanry . 
Dorsetshire Yeomanry 
Glasgow Yeomanry . . . 

Gloucestershire Yeomanry . 



Hertfordshire Yeomanry 

Duke of Lancaster's Yeomanry . 

Lincolnshire Yeomanry 

Middlesex Yeomanry . 

South Nottinghamshire Yeomanry 

Pembrokeshire Yeomanry . 

East Riding Yeomanry 

Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 

Shropshire Yeomanry . 
Staffordshire Yeomanry 
Warwickshire Yeomanry 



Worcestershire Yeomanry 



27, 35, 44, 110, 138, 139, 201 




27, 35, 44, 110, 138, 150, 168, 


169, 


201 




27 




27 




27 




24, 166 




27, 35, 44, 110, 158, 201 




75 




13, 14, 17, 19, 38, 47, 56, 58 


, 65, 


74, 82, 86, 92, 95, 100, 


101, 


102, 103, 116, 119, 128, 137, 


151, 


153, 158, 159, 161, 168, 170, 


183, 


184, 185, 186, 189, 190, 212, 


222, 


224, 225, 226, 228, 238, 240, 


, 245 


17 




62 




41, 114 




27, 170 




27, 166 




84 




114 




27, 166, 167, 219, 222, 224, 


225, 


228, 236, 238, 240, 246 




84 




114 




13, 14, 17, 47, 57, 58, 66, 70 


, 74, 


75, 80, 82, 86, 92, 100, 102, 


103, 


110, 117, 118, 121, 122, 128, 


132, 


137, 151, 152, 158, 159, 161, 


162, 


168, 181, 182, 184, 189, 196, 


212, 


222, 226 




13, 14, 17, 27, 32, 38, 44, 46, 


, 55, 


56, 58, 65, 74, 86, 97, 98, 


99, 


100, 101, 102, 116, 121, 128, 


134, 


152, 153, 156, 158, 161, 162, 


166, 


170, 183, 185, 186, 189, 211, 


222, 


226, 238 





Australian and New Zealand Regiments. 

2nd Australian Light Horse . 218 

4th Australian Light Horse . 159, 161 

6th Australian Light Horse . . 85 

10th Australian Light Horse . 197 

Canterbury Moimted Rifles . .77 

Wellington Mounted Rifles . . 62 



UNITS, FORMATIONS AND SHIPS 



283 



Ships. 



H.M.T. Ascania . 


. 15 


H.M.T. Andania 


. 41. 42 


H.S. Garishrooke Castle 


. 46 


H.M.T. Eloby . 


. 14 


H.M.S. Hannibal. 


. 44 


H.M.T. Mercia . 


. 41 


H.M.T. Minneapolis . 


. 21 


H.M.T. Orange Prince 


. 41 


H.S. Oxfordshire . 


. 45 


H.S.F.A. Rewa . 


. 39 


H.M.T. Rose 


. 262 


H.M.T. Royal Edward 


. 15 


H.M.T. Wayfarer 


. 14 



GLOSSARY 



Abu 






. Father of 


Ain . 






. Spring 


Bahr 






. Sea 


Beit . 






. House 


Bir . 






. Well 


Biyuk 






. Large 


Burnu 






. Cape 


Dagh 






. Mountain 


Darb 






. Road 


Dere. 






. Valley 


Deir 






. House 


El . 






. The 


Gebel 






. Hill 


Goz . 






. Sand Hill 


Hod 






. Depression in Sand with 
Palms 


Ibn . 






. Son of 


Karakol 






. Fort or Guard House 


Katib 






. Sand Hill 


Kebir 






. Great 


Khirbit 






. Ruin 


Kuchuk 






. Small 


Maghara 






. Cave 


Nag . 






. Mountain Pass 


Raa 






. Summit 


Rijm 






. Stone Heap 


Sabkhet 






. Salt Lake 


Sana 






. Rain-water Pit 


Tell . 






. Mound 


Um . 






. Mother of 


Wadi 






. Water-course (often dry) 



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